Unsung Heroes

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts…

A familiar quote to many…and a statement of an even older idea. And one that certainly resonates with me. Yet in my mind, not everyone is a player on the stage. Anyone who has participated in any kind of performance knows well that the players are just part of the show. The show can not go on without the support staff … the back stage workers, the set builders, the costume makers … it is a big list. While the players may be the most prominent part of the show, and be the means by which the show is shared with the world, they still only play a part. Yet to the uninitiated reap all the glory. To modernize the concept a bit, every movie has a very long list of credits. Having spent most of my life as a backstage worker (though occasionally stepping on the stage admittedly), I know the frustration of being a necessary part of the show yet not being noticed for it.

OK time to step out of the land of metaphor. This train of though was brought on by my sister’s recent posting on Woman Wielding Words. I posted it here a few days ago. She was writing a tribute to the often understated, or even unrecognized contribution of woman though out history. It is a thought-provoking tribute. And one of the thoughts it provoked in me is how many people get taken for granted … how many “unsung heroes” there are that make our very life livable.  Our culture has a penchant for hero-worship, and we tend to focus on those that stand out in the media, feeling that they are somehow better because of their fame or the power they appear to wield. Yet the plain truth of the matter is that many of the people would not be so outstanding without the support staff. That does not mean that they are not worthy people in their own right. Just that they did not do it alone.

There are also those many amazing folk who do noteworthy things without expectation of reward. They do not seek glory or power, They simply do the deed for the sake of the deed. And somehow end up taking a back seat in history. Want an example? Who got more notice? Mother Teresa or Princess Di? So I offer a tribute to all the unsung heroes out there. Even if you don’t make it to the history books, know that at least one appreciates the power of what you offer. Maybe if someone encounters these words they will be moved to thank that “common” worker who makes it possible for the comforts we so thrive on. And for a moment at least remember that celebrity does not define worth.

The true irony of this little rant is that few actually read my words. So the tribute may fall short. But it does not matter. Because the words have been shared; the thought created. A minor tribute maybe, but a tribute nonetheless.