There’s an old adage that says “never meet you heroes”. Everyone has heroes, right? I mean, sort of? Isn’t there a person or persona that we all look up to and idolize? As a kid my hero was Bruce Lee. (If you’re a guy) don’t act like he wasn’t yours too. Or perhaps yours was someone like John Wayne or Wonder Woman. We can idolize these larger than life figures, well, because we will never meet them. Fictional characters can be perpetuated into whatever we like them to be and dead characters, like wine, only get better with time. Then there’s the real to life, seemingly large than life figures that we’ve spent time trying to emulate in our own lives. We see these people as who we want to be or be like. They’re successful, they have it all together, why, they are untouchable! If it were ok with our spouse, maybe we’d even hang a poster of them over our bed and dream up the perfect scenario of what we would do if we ever met them.
(I once wrote Paula Abdul a letter when I was 10. I lied and said I was very sick and hoped she’d visit me. She didn’t)
So, what if we could meet them? What is it about the afore mentioned adage that beckons a warning to prevent this disastrous occasion? What’s wrong with meeting our heroes? The answer… “There is none righteous, no not one.” Romans 3:10 In our eyes, they only seem so.
I’ve met many of my heroes. Over the course of the years, I’ve developed an odd knack for connecting with larger than life individuals. I have no idea how, it just happens. I’ve hung out with professional athletes, mega-pastors, internet celebrities, best selling authors, CEO’s of million, and billion dollar corporations, you name it. Many of which Ive found myself idolizing and emulating. Here’s the one take away from my experiences…they’re all flawed. This is the thing we don’t want to have to face. It destroys our image of them. I’ve found most of them to be narcissistic, neurotic, having tendencies to lie and over exaggerate, and possessing severe emotional or mental handicaps. I’m not saying they’re fake. I’m saying, I focussed on or was only allowed to see that which was impressive to me and others. However the truth is this, these men are screwed up, flawed men, who have crafted one thing very well. They got good enough at something, that it took the attention off of the bad things. Our heroes are not really deserving of that title. And, better yet, they don’t want it. They’d more readily eschew such attention than be clothed in it.
I’m not saying not to have heroes or people that you look up to. Remember, though, that they are your hero for a reason, their craft; not because they have it all together or are even a good person. Babe Ruth had a drinking problem, Bruce Wayne was bat feces crazy at times, my musical hero Tom Petty smokes too much weed, and every one of the Apostles that Jesus called to be His world changers had deep seeded issues each to their own. Peter was impulsive. James and John had indignant tempers. Judas…so yeah. So, my advise is to admire, but do so from a distance. If given the chance to finally meet your hero, DON’T. Just settle for an autograph.
Meeting your hero will not make you best friends. Your hero meets their fans everyday. In reality, you’re just another one and that doesn’t make them stuck up.