There are people we respect who are no longer alive, even some people we never personally knew. Whether it’s a personal legacy they left in our lives through relationships or the impact we have because of what they contributed to the world, we admire and follow them in one way or another.
But what about people who are still alive?
Many people have said the best heroes to have are dead ones, because they can’t disappoint us.
I disagree. I believe the best heroes to have are the living ones, because they can disappoint us. They can lead authentic lives to provide examples of how messy this life is but how we can respond and grow in the midst of that mess. They show us a fuller picture of life.
We give that to each other as a gift, but in order to give well, we must deeply engage, be available, and be authentic.
I’ve never been much of a fake person, but I definitely wore more masks when I was younger than I do now. About fifteen years ago, some things in my life came to a head, and I faced a decision. I knew in order to live a healthy life – spiritually, emotionally, relationally – I needed to weed anything that wasn’t authentic, whether they were actions and habits, interactions with others, expectations, thoughts, or attitudes. It was hard work, and it is still hard work, but it is immensely clarifying and rewarding.
There is a required appropriateness to transparency, but we learn that along the way, and discernment becomes more natural.
The living examples in my life are imperfect, and I am grateful.
Do life with others. Invite them to share, allow them to struggle, hold them accountable as they grow, and you will both become better and healthier through the journey.