Monday, February 27, 2012

The Capes That Carry Me...

When I saw this drawing, two specific people came to mind.  There have been a lot of good and loving people who’ve had a positive influence in my life.  But this isn’t about that whole group of people.  It’s about THOSE TWO specific ones.  But before I share why, and who they are, I’ll share who and what they’re NOT.  They’re not super heroes.  Super heroes are for comic books and fiction stories.  Super heroes possess capabilities beyond the human realm.  And I don’t see them as heroes either, because honestly, in my mind, I think a hero is more of a moment in a person’s life ~ it doesn’t comprise who they are, but more of an action. Many will disagree with me on this point, but that’s not what this is about, so I’ll tackle that subject another day.
Like I said, this drawing reminded me of two specific people – they have impacted my life and I have seen their capes.  A way of life.  A moral code.  A life lived by example.  With no thought of reward, recognition or anything other than just living their life in the way that’s the right thing to do.  A life of goodness that builds on itself for them and for those around them.
They are not saints.  Not heroes.  They have flaws and they make mistakes.  But they are good, honest people to the core who live their life by a moral code that is as natural to them as breathing.  I don’t know that I’ve ever told them of the impact they’ve had on me, so it’s about time I did. 
In my 20’s, I met Patricia Harpster, aka Trish Dish.  (Don’t ask me where the nickname came from, I don’t remember!) We were receptionists in a doctor’s office and she was the first person I ever met and still know who lives her life, every day, as a Christian.  Yes, she was Catholic, but I don’t mean she lived her life by the Catholic religion and its rules and practices.  I mean she is a Christian.  She had a relationship with her faith that was just simply a natural part of her actions, her words and her who she is. Her marriage, her family life, and her friendships reflected a sincerity and truth that were grounded in her faith.  She made me want to be a better person, to be a Christian, and was the person I looked to emulate long before I embarked on my own spiritual quest.  Today, 15 years after I stopped working with her on a daily basis, she still affects me and the person that I strive to be.  I don’t feel I’ve nearly come close to her example, but she is who keeps me trying.
Those who know me will not be surprised to hear me name the second person as my husband, Steven.  If our marriage of the past twenty nine years had been “perfect”, I would not trust my judgment.  It’s because of the imperfections (otherwise known as those things that sometimes drive me to aggravating distraction) that I see his cape flow so brilliantly.  There have been people’s lives who he’s touched that would call him a hero.  As a paramedic, he’s saved people’s lives - as a firefighter, he’s entered burning buildings in search of someone trapped – as a friend and coworker he’s made a difference in a suicidal idealization.  But it’s not those things I refer to.
Steve is a black and white kind of guy.  There’s right and there’s wrong.  And no middle ground.  Not for him.  The right way he sees is to be the person who’s there.  Who helps with a sincerity behind it that’s unmatched.  Who steps in to do a job because it’s just something that needs to be done for the greater good.  Who strives to be a better man on a daily basis. He stays when others would walk away. He wears a lot of hats:  son, husband, father, friend, mason, and confidante to name a few.  We often clash as his black and white ways and my gray area ways collide. And although I don’t always agree, I can always acknowledge that his actions and decisions are always done with the best of intentions and integrity.  He inspires me to search deep within myself for the same type of qualities and actions.    
I don’t put Trish or Steve up on a pedestal.  They are everyday human beings.  And I can lump us all together as good people.  Like many other good people around us.  And yet to me, they stand out.  They probably don’t know they nudge me to push myself a little further…to dig a little deeper.  And someday, because of them, I believe I’ll catch a glimpse of my shadow and see a little something waving in the breeze behind me.  Thanks guys. 


  1. Very nice! There are those people who come into our lives and teach us something, for which I am very grateful.

  2. Thank you ladies - I am fortunate indeed!

  3. Beautifully said, Amy. I also love the "cape" metaphor and the way you use it throughout. I know your husband is a good guy, and your friend sounds wonderful, also. This is a lovely tribute to them.

  4. Capes are good, though the few times I've tried to wear one, or a scarf, I end up being strangled. I have the shoulders for it, too; puzzling.

    I'm sure the heroes in your life look up to you just as much as you look up to them. Something about being appreciated does that for a person.

  5. Stopping by to welcome you on board the A to Z Challenge April 2012
    We shall have loads of fun exchanging comments and visits!

    If you put the A to Z Challenge badge on your blog, it would be easier to identify that you're participating!

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z