It’s dangerous to have heroes. Well, living ones anyway. Even the dead ones are fraught with dangers too. That’s one reason why I find it hard to read biographies of people I admire. Either they come across as saintlike and unreal, or they’re brutally exposed. They rarely survive scrutiny and my hopes mingle with the dust of their reputations.
Not that it’s stops me. I’m a hero-seeking missile. As soon as one is toppled, I find another. I’ve got a specially-designed plinth rigged-up and newly painted, with a hoist that stretches into the sky. I need someone to worship – to copy and follow. To pour the weight of my hopes and longings into their glorious perfection.
That’s the issue you see. Perfection. It’s not enough for me to admire someone or seek to be like them in certain ways. I need my hero to be flawless. I want them to make up for every fault in everyone I’ve ever trusted and who’s let me down. I want an infallible father, a golden brother, a passionate lover. I want a hero streaked with blood, a champion, who will lead me singing, into battle: I want someone like me, but different: someone flawless and beautiful and worthy of worship.
This post has been filled by Jesus. But somehow I forget.
I read about people who achieve amazing things: celebrities, doctors, writers, poets.
I build them up in my head. I praise them to their face and to others. I consider myself a follower, a disciple, a devotee, a subscriber. And in return, all I ask is that they never, ever make a mistake.
If they do, they’re letting me down. They’re destroying my hopes. I’ve put them in the place of the real Saviour; and when they can’t do His job, I’ll kill them with my anger. I’ll bury them under my disappointment. I’ll oust them from my life for not living up to a job they didn’t know they had.
I say they fell from grace: but truth be told, it wasn’t there to start with.