In vain, I just searched the great god Google, trying to find a compendium of statements made by those who have been awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military medal this country hands out.
I could find statements about these heroes, but not a collection of statements made at the moment they received the medal. Many, of course, received the medal posthumously, but it seems to me that every time I have seen living recipients receiving the award, their remarks were strikingly similar: It was nothing special I did.
But no one listens. Instead, they chalk up the remarks to a 'becoming modesty' or something similar. Those bestowing the medal and those appreciating the ceremony are so involved in their desperate needs that they disdain the very people whose heroism they admire. It never seems to occur to them to suppose that these recipients are expressing a profound and unadorned truth -- that from their point of view, the point of view that really counts, it was nothing special.
And the same seems to go for those whose accomplishments shine in the world of spiritual endeavor. It is not they who are cheering or fawning or elevating their status. More often than not, they too see nothing peculiar or enthroned in their activities ... unless, of course, they are swept away and credulous of the adulation they have excited.
I think it is a good idea to examine the heroisms we create. It's not a bad thing or a naughty thing, but I do think it is a mistaken and discourteous thing.