"Wrestling with an Angel" The Book

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Unassuming Heroes Are Hard To Find

Perhaps the greatest heroes around us are those who go quietly throughout life doing great things with little or no self recognition. And they keep doing these things not because they want to be renowned or held in high esteem, but because they just couldn't imagine doing it any other way. I have a hero in my life that fits that description.

His Name is Noah and he is my gentle giant of a son. He is also a brother and a friend to my special son, Jake. Noah has shared his life, his space and his room with Jake for the past 12 years. Before you think this is no big deal for brothers to share a room together, consider life with Jake.

Most mornings are spent coaxing Jake out of bed, getting him changed and dressed, teeth brushed, fed, groomed and off to school.

After school Jake goes into his “at home routine” that if disturbed can get real ugly, real fast. He takes over the bedroom with his TV shows and a pile of smuggled snacks. Jake is also a little OCD and must have the room arranged and re-arranged several times a day to his specific guidelines. He has a fascination with certain clothing and must change shirts 5 to 6 times a day. Going through the drawers and closets looking for new shirts like a pirate plundering a treasure chest, he can sometimes cause considerable damage to the things around him.

The evening is filled with bath time, more changing, more grooming, medication and finally bedtime. Jake only sleeps about 5 hours a night and that sleep is not very peaceful. He rolls, grunts and kicks the wall with his feet almost the entire night.

Add to this the smells of dirty diapers, the messes of smuggled and secretly stashed food and the constant invasion of privacy and destruction of personal property, one could understand if a typical teenage boy got just a little frustrated and demanded things change to better fit his own living arrangements. But Noah is not a typical teenage boy.

For 12 years he has not only helped with these special needs of his brother, bathing, changing, feeding, grooming etc., he has done so without ever grumbling, complaining or arguing about it. Not one time in 12 years has he said, "Dad, mom, I'd really like to have my own room where Jake can't tear everything up and where I can sleep undisturbed through the night…maybe a room that doesn’t smell so much like a nursing home."

(We actually tried to give Noah his own room once, only to find Jake curled up in the bed beside him the next morning.)

So the next time you find yourself measuring heroes by their athletic skill, superior strength, marketed wealth or articulated self promotion, I’d like you to consider some of the real heroes around us. Those heroes who quietly go through life doing what is good and right, not because they want to be credited or recognized, but because they just couldn’t imagine doing it any other way.

Heroes like my son.


  1. Wow, what an awesome young man he must be. I know God must have special plans for him.

  2. Sometimes I am amazed by the awesomeness of youthful followers of Christ!

  3. Greg, Noah is indeed a very special young man. I have two daughters who also happily step up and help with my son without being asked. They have not had to share a room with my son, the way that your son has chosen to do, but our lives are pretty much ruled by autism and they have never complained or done anything but embrace and treasure my son, taking great pride in his gifts and talents.

    Years ago I came upon a story by The Story People (www.storypeople.com) called "Weight Training" that spoke to me of all of our lives and it goes like this:

    This is a giant block of whatever is most difficult for you to carry & trust me on this, you'll carry it more times than you can count until you decide that's exactly what you want to do most & then it won't weigh a thing anymore.

    Take care and know that I am a daily fan of your blog!