We really like heroes in our culture. I can remember growing up and loving superheroes - Superman, Batman, Spiderman, etc. We love the guy (or girl) who swoops in, defeats the bad guy, and saves the day. We love biblical heroes as well: David slaying Goliath, Samson destroying the temple, Elijah defeating the prophets of Baal by calling down fire to consume the waterlogged offering. These are the stories legends are made of, as the saying goes.
I think most of us, whether we would admit it or not, wonder whether we could make the tough choices in a situation like this. We wonder whether or not we could be heroes as well. We wonder what our response would be, if we had been asked the same question as the rich young ruler - would we be able to sell everything we have to follow after Jesus? We wonder about Jesus' statement, "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). If given the chance, would we be able to lay down our life to save a friend or loved one?
In reality, most of us will never know the answers to these questions. We will never be put in a situation that requires us to make such "heroic" decisions. Br. Lawrence seems to be reminding us that growth in spiritual maturity isn't about these life or death, all or nothing choices, anyway. "Practicing the Presence" may not lead us to sell everything to follow Jesus, but it may call us to give up that Venti White Chocolate Mocha at more than $4.00 a pop in order to provide a meal for a homeless veteran in our community. We may not be called to lay down our life for someone, but we may be called to give up a Saturday to volunteer to help build a house for a family in need.
Unless you live in a prime time television melodrama, life is not primarily made up of heroic decisions. It's made up of 1,000 little, innocuous decisions that we don't think about during the day: Where am I going to eat? Do I really need to upsize my combo? Who am I going to call today? How do I treat the cashier at the grocery store? Am I going to watch t.v. or spend time with family? Am I going to mindlessly sit in traffic or use this time for prayer? Am I going to bury myself in a magazine or take a walk and enjoy God's creation? Am I going to memorize the stats of the latest Heisman trophy winner or memorize a bit of God's Word? Am I more concerned about the latest Hollywood gossip or what is going on in the life of neighbor who is struggling?
They're little decisions that add up every single day. God may not be calling you to a heroic life, but he's calling you to follow him with humility and faithfulness - and those that do are heros in my book any day.