I used to say I do not have heroes. And over time I realized I do, I just do not call them heroes. I do not like the word.
Simply put, heroes will fall. Heroism is what we all desire within ourselves and hope to emulate to others. The pedestal we build for a hero is a collage of all the characteristics and instincts that we seek in the mirror, and they are the ideal of what we wish for in humanity.
A hero is a reminder that humanity and our community let us down.
This is why the recent news of the inquiry into the actions of Jean Vanier hit me in the gut. His actions, his words, his damaged legacy, all miles apart from the writing I had grown to love. His message came to me at a time of personal brokenness and seemed to be exactly what the world needed to hear. But the message did not align with the messenger. And that reminds me once again just how fallible humanity really is. I am not sure if I am ready to take down blogposts I have written about Vanier’s work, or stop mentioning them in my own personal work, but I do know I need to talk about the source when discussing the message.
I tell people I am not surprised by sin and wrongdoing. We are all capable of it and we are also capable of incredible blessing and forgiveness. And a hero falling reminds us of this dichotomy. We hope for good and are shocked by bad. Even though we hope others will see us in the most positive light possible.
Good people do stupid things. Even the shiniest armor can hide the most broken warrior. And no one likes to see their hero fall.
But they can, and they will. And that should not stop each one of us from seeking out the very best in others, and in ourselves. Be the hero you desire to see.