It is a familiar story. Under a hot, dry blazing noon sun, the hero comes. This western hero, we don’t usually know much about why he is the way he is.
But we really hope he won’t disappoint us. There are so many reasons he might.
The shop owners and the townspeople hide in their doorways. Some danger has come. Something that could destroy their plans and their future, and it must be stopped.
They don’t have the courage. They have desperate need for a rescuer to come.
And here he comes on a beautiful horse. Or maybe with a brave word spoken at the right moment. All heads swivel to the one. It will be he who takes care of everything.
All hopes rest on him. No one else can do it. Maybe even he will fail.
This is the start of almost every Western.
These have been an American story that has caught on. There are familiar parts to the story that can change a bit, but this story is very comforting. We know what to expect. We don’t exactly know what will happen but we know what should happen.
There are some rules.
There are laws of the frontier that keep everyone safe.
Much is unsafe on the frontier. But things have to be protected. Life and property have to be protected. Where would we be without those essentials?
On the frontier, it is all stripped down. The street is not busy.
On the audience side of the performance each person has their world they need to keep together.
It will take courage and a big action. Who will take it?
I am not in that town. I have my seat and my bowl of popcorn. But I need the courage too. When the hero makes the choice, walks into the town ready to take a bullet to keep everyone safe—then things are right with the world again.
With my soft seat and popcorn bucket I know for sure I don’t want to take a bullet. I am the townspeople—“Save me!”
But when I contemplate the story, filled with admiration for that hero on his horse—and I find deep in my stomach there is a big action I need to take. There is courage available to me that I hadn’t realized.
I am seeing someone do what I’ve been afraid to do.
A time comes in everyone’s life that courage is needed to take the big action. When it’s my turn to helps to remember the stories of others who have done it. I can imagine myself in those boots as I take the stop forward.
Heroes are required. I must be the hero. But I don’t have to be the only one.