I’ve been recently addicted to a tv series called “Heroes”. Although I’m beginning to free myself from the addiction, something still remains in my ears. It’s the question that Peter, one of the main characters, asked in the first episode: “Don’t you sometimes have the sense that we are made for something bigger, to be part of something else?”
We are used to distinguish two different kinds of people. There are great people. You know, those who make big statements in their lives and pronounce some of the most beautiful speeches to guide their own values and the values of millions after them. They are our heroes. Martin Luther King “had a dream”. John Newton saw the amazing grace of God. Socrates only knew that he knew nothing. And then there are normal people. They are not famous. They don’t pronounce speeches. They learn how to live their lives as they go, sometimes inspired by the great people, sometimes by their own mistakes. If this was the right distinction, I would consider myself to be in the second group.
And yet, Peter, the fictional hero, and his question is repeated once and again. Is this it? Is there not a purpose, a story to be lived? A question that, no matter how big or small your ambitions are, affects each one of us at some point in our lives. It seems to me that having the courage to ask those questions and looking for the answers is what really distinguish people.
Last week I met Nicole. That’s not her name, she is Chinese and I can’t pronounce her real and beautiful name. She came to a Christian event in a famous, highly intellectual atheist University in London. She came on her own. She sat alone, took the Gospel of Mark and began to read it. It didn’t take me long to realize that she was one of those people with the courage to have questions. Having grown up in China, she was told that there is not God. But after been sent to UK to study in one of the best Universities of the country, she began to have questions. Is this it? What about my frustrations, my longings? Is really none there to listen? Am I completely alone in this universe? She reached a conclusion on her own: that cannot be. So she decided to look for answers. She is one of those great people.
What makes you a real hero is not the ability of having all the answers but the courage of asking the important questions.