Dr. Billy Cox: My Heroes from the Past

What makes a true hero? In this special Day1 blog post, the Rev. Dr. Billy Cox, retired United Methodist minister in Kentucky, author, and a frequent commenter on Day1.org, shares the characteristics that have been important to him over the years.

...They appreciated our natural world and saw a "Divine Presence" in all creation. And, they did what they could to protect and preserve this natural world.

...They remembered and valued their roots and frequently returned to their source and gave thanks.

...They sought to build up rather than tear down and have a positive and lasting influence.

...They realized that government is not the final solution to what ails us, but the people are.

...They never forgot who they were, where they had been, what they had done, and gave thanks for what they now were, remembering with the Almighty, ones possibilities are unlimited.

...They were endless students of life, constantly open to new ideas, new ways of doing old things and always looking for ways to make them better and more useful.

...They knew to have friends, they first of all had to be one. And, they cherished their old friends, but were quick to make new ones.

...They looked for endless ways to make other people feel welcomed, wanted and supremely happy.

...While having and valuing their own personal view points, they were good listeners, encouraging others to express themselves and patiently listening while they were doing so.

...They believed in their own possibilities and the possibilities of others to succeed, and assisted them in the process.

...They shouldered their individual task in order to make the world a better place in which to live, and were not afraid of doing so.

...They didn't talk about brotherhood and right relations with all persons, they put it into practice.

...They were tolerant of another person's religious beliefs just as long as other persons were tolerant of theirs. They felt that the measure of a man was not what he believed, but what he did.

...They believed that every person who fails, makes a mistake, or commits some sin deserves a second or more chances to prove themselves.

...While appreciating the old and tried procedures from out of the past, they were not opposed to considering new and different ways of looking at and living life, and giving them an opportunity to be tested and tried.

...They did not flaunt their education, money or status, they just considered themselves to be fortunate for what they had, knowing full well that someone else helped them to arrive where they were.

...They knew that no one person is self made, that somewhere, somehow behind every successful person is the silent and oft times verbal presence of a family member or friend, and God himself, who gives those necessary nudges pushing one along the way in the right direction.

...They saw in the eyes of every new born, the possibility of a King or a Queen, if only they have the right amount of love and support during those formative and growing up years.

...They paused frequently to give thanks for who they were, what they had, where they had been what they had accomplished, their failures and successes, never failing to say, I love you very much to all those who have loved and cared for them along the way.

...While remembering their human frailties, their sins of omission and commission, they remember that all men are mortal, they refuse to permit themselves to drown in their own pit of despondency and look up, look out, always pushing, always climbing, remembering their God loves, forgives and desires the very best for all of his creation.

...As they placed their head upon their pillow at the end of every day, their one prayer was, thanks for another day, and thanks for giving me the opportunity of doing my part of improving the human situation.

...In short, my heroes from the past are those unselfish persons who have forgiven without reservation, who have served without counting the cost, and who have loved without conditions. The greatest of all are those who love, for love never fails.

Billy Cox

February 18, 2011