When Heroes Die

When Heroes Die
 
A young girl dreams of a career in nursing after reading a book by Tom Dooley on his work in the jungle. (This is where I started to worry about lipstick melting in the heat, as discussed previously.) But I knew that regardless I would be working at his side someday, healing the sick and stamping out disease. Then only a couple of years later I read of his death in the newspaper. I was sad to have a hero die….deep inside I put the big lipstick worry aside and forgot my dream. I could not have forgotten all about completely as I did end up a nurse anyway.
 
He has been on my mind lately so I decided to do some reading. And yes he is still my hero, a man of great works. And the key word here is “man”. For no matter what great works we do we still have imperfections. And that is okay.
The worst thing any of us can do is believe that someone who does good is perfect, a thought which is often engineered by press, politics, church, business, ourselves, and on discovery of truth, that great work becomes less.
 
How many heroes have had the effect of their great works negated by expose?
Its time we recognize accomplishment without expecting perfection in others.
It’s time we recognize accomplishment without expecting perfection in ourselves.
Just ask, Churchill, Kennedy, Woods, Nightingale et al including every artist and writer who ever lived.
 
Dr. Tom Dooley
1927-1961
 
” He was genuinely loved by the Laotian people, who dubbed him Thanh Mo America, Dr. America. And this love was definitely returned by Dooley. For all his vainglory, and self-centeredness, he did set personal high standards for MEDICO physicians, and sought to make of his Operation Laos, a people to people project.” (James T. Fisher, Dr. America: The Lives of Thomas A. Dooley)
 
Listen to the agony of mankind
 
I who am fed, who never yet went hungry for a day,
I see the dead, the children starved for lack of bread.
I see and try to pray.
 
Listen to the agony of mankind
I who am warm, who never yet have lacked a sheltering home,
In dull alarm, the dispossessed of hut and farm
Aimless and transient roam.
 
Listen to the agony of mankind
I who am strong, with health and love and laughter in my soul,
I see a throng of stunted children reared in wrong
And wish to make them whole.
 
Listen to the agony of mankind
And know full well that not until I share their bitter cry,
Their pain and hell, can God within my spirit dwell
And bring America’s blessing nigh.
 
•Dr. Tom Dooley
 
 
 
http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/f/fisher-america.html

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11 thoughts on “When Heroes Die”

  1. As a kid you think all heroes are perfect. You get older and become cynical as you learn they made mistakes or you question the sincerity of their good works. But at a certain age you realize how easy it is to make mistakes and how hard it can be to make a difference, and you appreciate people who were still able to do some good works regardless of their failings.

  2. Oh, I remember knowing about Dr. Dooley! I’m glad you brought him to mind.

    Sometimes we disregard the good a person has done because we think they didn’t measure up, but then again, we fail to hold people accountable sometimes.

    I heard Pulitzer Prize winner James Stewart discussing his book the other day and thought it a very important subject: Tangled Webs: How False Statements Are Undermining America: From Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff.

    Money really IS power!

  3. Oh, my. I’d never heard of Dr. America, but I love him now. Thank you for this touching intro and for your grasp of mankind’s accomplishments. In politics, it may be that everyone is fair game and everyone’s flaws are just awaiting good research. But, in truth, there are no good men or women who are not also fully human and normally flawed. Not even the one we exploit as our benchmark.

  4. Wow Chris. The truth of what you said! Thank you for sharing Dr. Tom Dooley. His words. How often DO we do that? Discount someone’s good works because they are not perfect? Great blog. colleen

    1. Thanks Colleen I so appreciate your kind words! Now even though I think you have had this before…..I have posted you as a recipient of the Versatile Blogger Award..details in my just now post. Congratulations!
      Chris

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