Two of my heroes have no idea that they are heroes of mine.
One is a retired elementary school gym teacher.
The other teaches drivers ed. (His story will come later)
They are two of my mom’s brothers.
My maternal grandparents are aging rapidly. They are 97 and 93 (I think) and they live by themselves. Well sort of by themselves. My mom and her three brothers and their spouses spend much of their time taking care of them. At one point they discussed using meals on wheels which seemed like a reasonable solution and certainly what I would have suggested. My uncle Ken was not in favor of this. He believes it is too impersonal and is willing to take on this burden himself. I still kind of think he is crazy but I love that he didn’t make his point and then allow the burden to fall to his siblings. He makes sure they have all the meals they need.
This is consistent with who my Uncle Ken is.
He is technically retired but along with his wife Ginny is playing a significant role in raising his grandchildren whose dad is not present in their lives, being a faithful father to his kids and sitting for hours at a time with my grandparents.
He has fought migraines for years but never complains.
Many people memorize or cite Jeremiah 29:11 which says “I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you a hope and a future.”
Not as many people memorize the preceding verses in which God tells the Israelites that they will be exile for 70 years and that they should build homes and plant gardens because they are going to be there awhile.
We often act like we deserve verse 11 to be here now. But in reality we are called to build and homes and plant gardens right where we are.
My uncle Ken would never compare his life to the exile that the Israelites experienced. Nor would I. But he has certainly embraced what life has brought his way and loved lavishly and unconditionally in the midst of it all.
For that reason he is one of my heroes.