An Obscure Hero. (In praise of a son)

‘The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.’

THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, J.R.R. TOLKIEN

‘There is a determined though unseen bravery that defends itself foot by foot in the darkness against the fatal invasions of necessity and dishonesty. Noble and mysterious triumphs that no eye sees, and no fame rewards, and no flourish of triumph salutes. Life, misfortunes, isolation, abandonment, poverty, are battlefields that have their heroes; obscure heroes, sometimes greater than the illustrious heroes.’

LES MISÉRABLES, VICTOR HUGO

Obscure heroes – I have one close to me this week.  My eighteen year old was mugged this week,  and relieved of his wallet, his i- pod, and lastly, his phone.  Because he raised an objection to them taking his phone, they also beat him with a stick.  Robert will always be an obscure hero, a young man who passionately cares about injustice,  takes his politics to the streets to stand up for the values of fairness that mean so much to him. And yes, he sees the ignoble acts of violence and greed all around him, our modern technology streams it to us ceaselessly in an attempt to bring attention to the horrifying conditions some percentage of the human population have to survive because of war, and natural disaster.  His heroism, in my eyes, is his eagerness to bring change to the world, to stay motivated amidst all the disharmony.
I am proud of my son, proud of his strength of character, of his resilience and of his hope.  He hopes for improvement. He believes in the strength of the majority, and in the inherent goodness that lies within the heart of man.
Me?  I have battled with my feelings after this battering.  Swinging between hopelessness, fear and anger …. slowly the pendulum is pointing towards a sadness that encompasses Roberts pain, and a recognition that the perpetrators are dealing with their own demons. It isn’t forgiveness, not yet, but it isn’t vengeance either, which it was.  It is a realisation of how lucky we are to have each other, to have the friends we have supporting us, Robert was immediately surrounded by friends he had known since birth, and I was helped by my husband and my brothers, always available in a crisis. I am never alone. Not entirely. I have love surrounding me, as does Robert.  He has had the pain, and the inconvenience of sorting out the loss of credit cards etc etc, the loss of well-being. Something for Robert will have changed forever. A newly discovered strength of dealing with upset, disturbance, upheaval.  My obscure hero.
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