GUEST COLUMN: Heroes all around us

Gulmeena Barlas

Many times in my life I have wanted to be inspired, wanted to be like someone else, but I failed to realize that what I sought was already in front of my eyes.

We look at news articles about genius children and celebrity transformations; we read about all the amazing things that other people around the world are doing.

Yet we forget that people in our own community, even in our own family, have also been doing amazing things themselves, but silently.

I have been around many heroes but, sad to say, I just didn’t recognize them.

I sought weight loss inspiration from people everywhere, but not in my own family. My sister had success, I witnessed her change, but I failed to acknowledge her achievement.

I looked for ways to make a difference, to change the world, to ease poverty. Yet all the while my neighbour was actually doing just that, only silently.

My neighbour is wealthy enough to quit her job and live happily for the rest of her life, but chose to work instead. She decided to take care of the elders at a nursing home instead of relaxing at her own home. She worked late nights and long shifts so she could make a difference in this community.

Though I have known her for 10 years, I looked for other ways to make a difference, despite the inspiration being right next door.

Finally, I sought to be a good and giving person. Once again I didn’t recognized a man who is a living example of kindness. This man immigrated almost 14 years ago, to come to a land where he had to start all over again from scratch. He worked as a pizza delivery guy to provide for his family, despite being a certified engineer.

This man who worked so hard and made it, maybe not where he wanted to be exactly, but nevertheless made it. He left all his family, including his mother, who begged him not to go.

But he knew that staying where he was would be disastrous to his future family. I never recognized this man, I never recognized my father.

Being a rebellious teenager, I forgot all that he has done for us and only focused on what I disapprove of.

I am sorry that all of these people were right before my eyes, yet I looked to others for encouragement and inspiration.  And now that I know, I wanted to share this with everyone, so that we can all look for the real heroes. ”

 Gulmeena Barlas is a Sarnia resident and proud daughter