Monday, June 3, 2013

My Heroes

Who do you look up to? 

Who you look up to says a lot about who you are. I think I first really realized that when I did a "character interview" with a character in my story The Jeweled Dagger, a historical fiction novel about Naaman's servant girl. One of the questions was about who the character looked up to, who their heroes were, and I had to stop and think. Who would this particular character look up to? I had a few ideas, but once I had them all written down, I was surprised to see how perfectly they all fit together and how obviously they had inspired my character. 

So I like to ask this question, because it tells so much about a person. When I've stopped and thought about my own heroes, I've been amazed at how their lives have influenced mine. As a child, I was blessed to have a natural inclination for for reading biographies and learning about amazing people in history, a mother who insisted and even a church that encouraged I do so. I made it through a few biographies by the sheer force of my mother's will, but I got through them, and I learned a lot. Not all of the people I read about interested me, but there was always something interesting in their stories. And some of them I fell as completely in love with as if they had been a fictional character, only I liked them even more because they were real people. XD

So who are my heroes? In no particular order (how do you order or rank the people who have influenced you?), here are the first ones who come to my mind:

Amy Carmchael, via google
George Muller. The amount of time he spent in prayer and the absolute dependance he had on God have inspired my prayers on many occasions. The fact that he cared for 10,024 orphans in his life makes him epic.  

Amy Carmichael. Her books have delighted, encouraged, and absolutely caused me to grow as a Christian. Plus, she was a missionary who founded an orphanage.

Adoniram Judson, Jr. Okay, he I mostly thought was cool and had an exciting life - he learned to read when he was three years old, he was one of the first American missionaries, and his Burmese translation of the Bible is still the popular one in Myanmar, for starters.
(His wife Ann was awesome as well. And a piece of trivia: my older brother and his now-wife played Adoniram and Ann for a Vacation Bible school skit at her church before they fell in love. XD So I think these missionaries will remain on my list of heroes. ;) 

Darlene Diebler Rose. I love her book Evidence Not Seen - she was really one of the first missionaries I read about where I actually felt like I was reading about a real person who I could majorly identify with. Plus, she was a good writer. :) 

Mary Slessor. She was Scottish, for one thing...and a missionary who adopted many of the babies she found abandoned (most of which were twins, which is something I've always wanted), and saved hundreds. I was terrified of Africa for years after reading about her story. XD She was inspired by David Livingston, who technically should be on my list (erm...he checks off a lot of boxes: Scottish, doctor, missionary to Africa...), but...I don't know. I think he might be on my secondary list. (Think David's mighty men - there were quite a few sets and sub-sets among them. XD)

William Wallace. This is entirely the fault of Scottish Chiefs, which I read when I was ten years old and which colored my view of Scotland (see above), England, and heroes for years to come. But the man was pretty amazing, and he and Robert the Bruce both remain on my list of awesome people. (Honorable mention goes to Richard the Lionhearted, only that's more the fault of Sir Walter Scott. Some people are on that list because I want to be like them, others just because they were too larger-than-life not to be included. XD He's on my secondary list too.)

Elizabeth Blackwell. First woman to get a medical degree in the US, abolitionist, and major proponent of socio-moral reform as linked with health. Very cool. I read I-don't-know-how-many biographies of her growing up...I told my mom she was purposefully brainwashing me into becoming a doctor. XD 
The Flying Tigers, via wikipedia...epic!

The Flying Tigers. Speaking of cool...these guys were awesome. And probably sparked my interest in the Far East, after Hudson Taylor, Adoniram Judson, and the fact that my Grandpa was stationed in Japan after WWII. Anyway, read a biography of these guys - you will not be sorry. I am totally writing a novel about one of them some day...

Gladys Aylward. Mostly I loved her work with Chinese and Taiwanese orphans...haha, the fact that Darlene Rose is the only married woman on this list used to scare me a bit, but Muller was married and Judson married three times and Rose married twice - maybe that makes up for it. Otherwise...I can totally see myself running a giant orphanage somewhere in the world, I really can. XD

Paul White. I grew up on the Jungle Doctor series, and love the man for being a doctor and a writer, and a Christian missionary. His stories did not make me less afraid of Africa, but I have a feeling they influenced my desire to become a doctor. 

Luke. I think I've mentioned him before. He wrote a book of the Bible. He was a doctor. He was awesome. 

Daniel. He also wrote a book of the Bible, and what's more, he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. That's pretty amazing. Also, he was called greatly beloved by angels. Like I said, amazing.

Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah. There were so many justifications, so many excuses they could have come up with for obeying the king...but they were not even careful to answer the king. I love them.

Joseph. While I'm listing favorites from the Bible...he and Daniel were tied for the longest time on my favorites list. Come to think of it, I still don't know who's ahead...

Susanna Wesley. The care she put into raising her children, and the fact that the Great Awakening and several thousand hymns are in large part due to her influence on two of them is nothing if not inspirational. 

Ben Carson. He's a doctor. And a writer. And brilliant. Need I say more? I read his first autobiography years and years ago, watched a documentary on his life, read his second book, watched a movie made about him, and it was actually reading quotes from some of his more recent talks that got me started on this post. :D

The White Rose, via google. Seriously...these people are amazing.
Sophie Scholl. Part of the White Rose, an incredible group of people. Every single one of the them was amazing in their own way, and reading the writings of the male members confirmed my belief that yes, awesome heroes do exist and these fictional characters that we swoon over can be cartoons compared to the real thing. Sophie herself, as a 22-year-old student in an extremely hostile environment with a faith in God that would not allow her to remain silent about the atrocities that surrounded her is absolutely one of my all-time favorite heroines. 

Who are your heroes?

"The real damage is done by those millions who want to 'survive.' The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves—or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honour, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.”― Sophie Scholl

2 thoughts shared:

Miss Melody Muffin said...

I completely agree. Who you look up to does say a lot about who you are. That said, it is always neat finding out someone else has some of the same heroes and role models you do.

Amy Carmichael has been a hero of mine for years. I think I read my first biography of her when I was 8 or 9 and then just could not get enough of her.

I've not heard of Darlene Diebler Rose before....

Mary Slessor- YES!!!! She too, is one of my heroes. She was AMAZING!!

The Flying Tigers- I've heard of them but have yet to read anything about them. Must remedy that.

Gladys Aylward is on your list, too!!! She overcame great odds to even make it to China and then the work she did while there! Like Amy Carmichael and Mary Slessor, I love reading about her. (And I can't quite forgive The Inn of Sixth Happiness movie for what they did to her story.) (Oh, goodness, yes. Running a giant orphanage- can I come work for you?)

Daniel- YES!!

Joseph is probably my all time favorite Bible character.

Sophie Scholl- I only learned about the White Rose early this year, but wow. They were awesome.

When I have my computer fixed I think I shall answer your ending question with a post of my own.

Katherine Sophia said...

Ha! It's so fun to see which heroes we share! XD

Yes, read about the Flying Tigers. XD

And heh, yeah, the Happiness movie was...sad... :P

The White Rose is completely awesome. :D

Ooh, yes! I would love to see a post like that!! :)


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