Thankful for anonymous heroes

I’m thankful for the anonymous heroes living among us, who grab our hearts and change our minds.

I’ve been thinking about them a lot in the context of a story I love about a group of very adamant, anonymous men in the Gospels. I was reminded of it after a friend shared this reflection with me.

In the Gospel story according to Luke, Chapter 5:18-19, “Some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed…but finding no way to bring him in to Jesus because of the large crowd, they instead went up on the roof, broke a hole in that roof, and slowly dropped the paralyzed man down on his bed through the tiles in front of Jesus.”

Astonishing. They didn’t walk, they ran their paralyzed friend to Jesus. And they loved their paralyzed friend so much that, not only did they shove through an irritated mob, they even scrambled up to the top of a house and broke a hole in the roof so their friend could see Jesus to be healed.


Ask yourself, who do you know who loves you so very much that they are willing to get your back and fight for you, willingly, every day?

Who are the people who love you so much they will battle through a crowd, even go so far as to wreck a roof?

They live next door to you. They’re sitting right near you, at work. They’re sitting next to you at the dinner table. They’re even anonymous strangers who simply care.  Love is their church, love is their highest standard, and I’m thankful for them.

I think we worry too much that heroes are no longer among us, that heroes only existed, say, during Biblical times. That’s not true.

I am grateful for the anonymous neighbors and strangers rebuilding small businesses looted and torched in Ferguson, Missouri. Like the friends and strangers who raised $170,000 for Natalie Dubose, whose “Natalie’s Cakes” got wrecked during the recent rioting, a bakery she had just opened last June. The single mom of two, who sold cakes at a flea market to start her business, is back baking apple, pumpkin, blueberry, cherry and caramel apple pies, plus all sorts of cakes.

I am grateful for anonymous heroes at groups like Rebuilding Together NYC, which uses private donations and volunteers to rebuild homes for low-income families hit by Hurricane Sandy. So far, they’ve fixed 330 homes.

I’m grateful for all the firemen who rescue people and their homes, and for hero policemen like 26-year-old Sean A. Collier, the MIT police officer who was killed in a shootout with the Boston Marathon bombers.

I am thankful for the anonymous heroes, the neighbors and firemen friends of Roxanne Warneke, who, while pregnant, lost her husband, firefighter Billy Warneke, one of the 19 firefighters killed in the horrific blaze northwest of Phoenix in the summer of 2013.

Now Roxanne is living in a new house built by friends and strangers, a house now home to daughter Billie Grace, born six months after Billy died and named for her father. It was the house her husband had dreamed he would build for her. In blessing her new home, Zane Anderson, a senior pastor at Victory Worship Center in northwest Tucson, said this: "This truly is the house that love has built.” And I am grateful for him, Billy, Roxanne and Billie Grace Warneke -- and their friends, too.