How to Become a Hero c.j. hayden
   How to Become a Hero
   You Are the Champion the World Is Waiting For

   C.J. Hayden, MCC

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Heroes must choose 

The past ten months have seen more than their share of calls to heroes. Beginning with the tsunami in South Asia last December, we have seen a wave of natural disasters leaving behind widespread destruction and despair: Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma in the U.S., Hurricane Stan in Guatemala and El Salvador, and the recent earthquake in Pakistan and India. There are so many people homeless, jobless, and suffering around the world that we may be tempted to throw up our hands in despair. How can we help so many people at once? With so much help needed in so many places, what can one person do?

I have had my moments of wanting to turn off the news and pretend none of this is happening. Hearing so many calls for help, a natural response is to defend ourselves by shutting down our compassion. By turning a deaf ear and hardening our hearts, perhaps we can avoid being overwhelmed, and therefore perhaps remain of some use. But I believe there is a more purposeful solution.

Loren Eiseley, in his book The Star Thrower, wrote a parable that has been widely repeated as the "starfish story." If you aren't familiar with it, here's a synopsis. This story serves as a guidepost to me whenever I begin to feel overcome by donor fatigue, volunteer burnout, or just too much bad news. If my personal contribution can make a significant difference in the life of just one person who is suffering, than it is a worthwhile thing to do.

For heroes to truly be "star throwers," we must choose where our efforts will go. When there are so many places we could be volunteering, donating money, or heading up a relief project, almost any choice will do. If you have read either of my books, you already know my stance that "it doesn't matter so much what you choose as that you choose." By making a choice, you make action possible. And in these challenging times, your heroic action is desperately needed, wherever you choose to take it.

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