Archive for April 8th, 2012

Heroes and generosity

Just read this excellent article (“We can be heroes“) on Nooga.com, and thought it worth sharing in its entirety.

Each year on Good Friday, Christians across the globe pause to commemorate Christ’s death on the cross. Jesus’ sacrifice was ultimate heroic act: the voluntary giving of his life to provide salvation for mankind. And although we can’t give our lives to save all of humanity like Jesus did, it’s good to know that people are still giving their lives for others.

A couple of weeks ago, a National Guardsman from Rhode Island gave his life to save a little girl in Afghanistan. During last year’s tornadoes in Missouri, a husband gave his life to save his wife. And it’s been barely a year since Chattanooga Police Department Sgt. Tim Chapin died after volunteering to answer a robbery call so that another officer could sit finish some paperwork. All of these heroic acts can and should inspire heroism in others.

But heroism can be more subtle, too. It doesn’t have to involve the risking and saving of lives. A hero can be someone who does a simple good deed for someone else. A recent Facebook post illustrates that fact.

Kristen Ryan lost her wallet a month ago. Last Sunday, she posted the following message:

“Just got a package in the mail from this amazing person who found my wallet that I lost a month ago and returned it with everything in it. I was really just bummed about losing the actual wallet not the stuff in it [because] my sister gave it to me for my birthday seven years ago. And now I have it back because of this amazingly kind person. [I am] completely mind-blown right now. Wow … Thank you! Thank you!”

The person who mailed her wallet to her was none other than Sandy “The Flower Man” Bell. Bell has spent the last two decades riding around downtown Chattanooga on his bike, selling flowers to folks for whatever they’re willing to pay. Often, he just gives them away.

“Over the years I’ve learned flowers never let you down,” he told Chatter magazine back in February. “They always make me happy. Then, when I pass them out downtown, some people say how they wasn’t feeling well or had a bad day, and I brightened it up. I really enjoy hearing that.”

He’s brightened thousands of people’s days over the years, and April 1 was Kristen Ryan’s turn. Along with the wallet, he sent her the note pictured above.

Sandy’s good deed inspired a wave of praise, as hundreds of people “liked” and shared Kristen’s post. Many suggested that folks get together to do something nice for Sandy in return. I concur.

Our city is struggling with many issues. Our headlines are filled with stories of violence and destruction. But despite all the doom and gloom, people are still committing heroic acts. As we look for ways to overcome the challenges we face, we’d do well to challenge ourselves to emulate heroes—from Jesus to Sandy Bell.

This weekend, I will be gathering with my church family to give thanks to the Lord for what he’s done for me. And if I see Sandy downtown, I’m going to thank him, too. I urge you all to do the same.

Bill Colrus writes about local news, culture, music and media. You can find him on Facebook, follow him onTwitter or reach him at billcolrus@gmail.com.

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