By: Leslie P. Garcia
Ready or not, 2014 is nearly upon us—just days, just hours, really, since time flies—away. Most of us try to face the new year with hope, with decisive actions to achieve goals and live our dreams. But how do you face a new year without hope or love?
Sometimes you look for heroes.
Sometimes, you are a hero
We all define heroes differently, and we don’t always recognize someone’s heroism when we see it. A picture on the news or our social media pages catches our eye, and we read about someone saving a kitten from the interstate, or a man standing up for a child who is being abused in a public place, or a grandmother fighting off a purse snatcher who would have stolen her monthly pittance and left her hungry.
Sometimes, the people in your life, the ones you think of as just there, do extraordinary things. Last year, I had heroes in my classroom and my life. One of my students with stomach cancer had been in remission, but the cancer came back with a vengeance a few weeks into the year. The strength and nobility of a mother whose husband left during those terrible times, who had virtually no resources, amazed me. She’s still far from her home, and fighting, alongside her son, for a Christmas miracle, for a New Year miracle. She and her son are heroes, as are so many whose extraordinary courage, persistence—presence—escape our notice in the daily bustle and rush of our lives. They are ordinary people whose efforts to salvage love and hope from worlds collapsing around them make them larger than life, and unforgettable.
Those are the kinds of heroes I hope I create in Wildflower Redemption, a story of two people who have suffered enormous loss—but find a way to hope again. To love again.
Historical heroes change the world, but in the end, our lives are often just as affected by the next door neighbor who saves a child’s life, a person who makes it their life’s mission to adopt abandoned animals, or a woman who won’t let cancer win, as we are by anyone else.
Heroism, it seems to me, is not just a product of valor, but of love as well. And heroism feeds hope—hope in humanity, hope in our own ability to triumph over pain and disappointment.
May each and every one of you encounter your own heroes in the new year, and find bright hope in each day. Happy New Year!
Excerpt from WILDFLOWER REDEMPTION
Behind them, Chloe burst out laughing. “Like the wrestling! Pin him, Luz!” she crowed, leaving the pony she’d finished grooming to edge closer.
“Whose side are you on?” Aaron grunted at Chloe as Luz elbowed him without meaning to, trying to move farther away from the appaloosa, but collapsed back in a heap when she couldn’t stop laughing.
“Better watch out,” she taunted. “Bet I could take you.” His eyebrows lifted slightly. Laughter faded from his face. Her breath caught in her throat.
Unaware of the heat building between them, Chloe clapped her hands. “Come on! I’ll referee—”
Luz fished for an answer.
“Well! I thought it was strange no one looked out the door to see who was here,” Esmeralda said from a few feet away. “But I see you all were too busy— what, body slamming each other?”
Contempt and insinuation hardened her words, and Luz stiffened.
Beside her, Aaron sat up straighter and looked at Esmeralda without embarrassment or welcome. “Good morning, Esmeralda.”
He stood, then held out a hand to Luz as if nothing were unusual about sprawling in the sand with his daughter’s… what? She didn’t know what she was to Aaron, and though he belittled her apprehensions, the counselor’s demeanor and sarcasm clearly said she expected to be Aaron’s woman and didn’t think much of Luz’s attempts. Her face colored more by anger than embarrassment, she let Aaron pull her up, but when she would have stepped away, his hand still holding hers kept her from doing so.
“Luz and Daddy were wrestling,” Chloe offered helpfully.
God bless innocence. Because I don’t think that’s what we were doing.
Amazon | Crimson Publishing