We have celebrities in our lives, people we get giddy when we meet or see in person. But then we have heroes, those people who embody the character and grit we admire. They are the people we emulate because we want to be more like them. They don’t have to be famous, no big twitter following, they simply live out the qualities we strive for. These are the types of people we want our children to know and be around.
Many of my real-life heroes are connected to my husband’s work. They are the staff and residents of Providence Network, a community of homes where people are rebuilding their lives. Residents are coming out of homelessness, addictions, domestic violence. Often patterns of life that although unhealthy are familiar and therefore comfortable. They must push through what is known to something better. It takes a lot of faith to believe that life can be better when it has been so harsh.
And then there are the staff that live in community with these brave folks. They do the everydayness of the everyday, laundry, making dinner, going to bed and getting up again and facing a new day, with residents to live out what a better life might look like and feel like. They sacrifice their privacy, their quiet time, their free time, all things I hold onto tightly, because they feel called to actively live out Jesus’ commands in this way.
Spencer is one of those heroes. A man who rebuilt his life while living at Prov (our family’s nickname for Daddy’s work.) He was in his early 20s, living on Denver’s streets and hit rock bottom after waking up in a dumpster when someone unknowingly dumped their trash on him. In the last 7 years he has worked on his sobriety, graduated from nursing school and worked as an ER nurse.
But this summer he is taking time off to ride his bike across the country to raise money for a new home for Prov, a home specifically targeting young men and women, who like him 7 years ago, live on Denver’s streets today. Spencer started his cross country journey two weeks ago at the Golden Gate Bridge. His final destination: the Brooklyn Bridge.
My family will be following him at BridgetoBridgeRide.com. His photos, words, social media and his map will tell us how he’s doing and of his adventures along the way (of which there have already been many.) Because Spencer is one of those heroes I want my girls to know and be like. Who pushed through the known and believed there was a better. It hasn’t been easy, nor will this ride, but that’s what makes him a hero.
Heroes aren’t perfect, they are simply people with qualities we want to possess.
Photo credits to Steve Babuljak for capturing Spencer’s first day of his ride.