Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Does everyone know the current Keebler commercial? The one with the two girls just getting home from school and there's only one cookie left and the big sister finally relents and gives her little sister (with her puppy dog eyes) the last cookie? The head Keebler dude makes a dash for it and replaces the last cookie with another one and scoots outta sight before the big sister knows what happened. And everything is right with the world once again. I hope I'm not the only one that think it's a pretty cool commercial.

I love a good story where the underdog defies the odds, the losers become winners or even something as simple as a cookie commercial displays the good nature that I believe exists in all of us.

The stories are out there. Sometimes even Hollywood gets it right. Rudy and his lifelong quest of Blue and Gold. Remember the Titans moves beyond racism to triumph. Hoosiers is a modern day David versus Goliath. Or the story of lending a hand and giving a stranger the one thing he desires most (a family) in The Blind Side. Movies like Rudy, Remember the Titans, Hoosiers or The Blind Side show us the heroism that exists in all of us, even in someone that isn't heroic. That the best role models aren't heroic or geniuses at all, but real people that have real problems. That the strongest, the smartest, the most beautiful or the most charismatic is, in reality, just a Hollywood fairy tale. But, even then, sometimes it seems as if Hollywood does get it right, if only occasionally.

The real heroes are regular Joes and Janes. Their lives are flawed. Their characters are not-so-pretty and average. Their circumstances are dismal. Their problems are real. But their spirits live and soar. Their passions are real and contagious. Their stories inspire us and make us believe. Their inspirations give us hope and fuel our own dreams. They are slices from the American Dream, the indomitable spirit that exists in each of us.

Is it ultimately a product of our American civilization, our amazing country in which we are so privileged to reside, the ideals that we believe in and strive to achieve that inspire these regular Joes and Janes to dream farther than we can see and to believe that the impossible is indeed possible? Would a person in an oppressive society allow themselves these same dreams and beliefs as easily as the same person in a society that values freedom as a way of life as we do? Would they be encouraged to follow those dreams as easily as they could in a society such as we are privileged to be a part of? Would they even be aware that such opportunities even exist?

Honestly, I'd hate for those questions to be merely rhetorical. I'd hate that what I just asked be true. The American spirit is, in truth, the Human Spirit, personified. That spirit is what makes each individual human unique, but also the same. It's what separates us from the other members of the animal kingdom. The sad reality is that unless you were or are one of the fortunate few to be born in these United States of America, then much of what we take for granted isn't even a glimmer of a thought in the mind's eye.

Can we fully appreciate these gifts that we take for granted? Sometimes I feel as if we don't appreciate these gifts, these freedoms, that we do enjoy. Do we remember; do we appreciate what those before us endured? Americans wept, argued, sweated, fought, bled, killed and died so that we could enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy today. Each American generation has known adversity, privilege, wealth, poverty, sorrow and happiness. As much as I do believe that America and its ideals are a microcosm for the entire human race, for humanity; it remains a beacon for that same humanity as well. When the rest of humanity seems as if in a fog, it looks to the light that shine bright upon our shores, guiding the lost to liberty, to freedom.

These stories of adversity: our Hoosiers, our Titans, our Rudy Reuttigers and our Michael Ohers are our lights and our inspirations. They show the rest of us, the rest of humanity, what we can do when faced with adversity, how we can overcome that adversity, and how we can prosper and triumph in spite of that adversity.

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