I have so many friends right now who are doing the hard things.

Some by choice though others would choose anything thing else. They are taking care of family members with cancer and dementia. They are fostering broken children, rebuilding storm-tossed houses, waiting for the power to come back on.

They are not just waiting for normal. They want more than getting by. They are trying to mean something.

So, they attempt the hard things. They gather research, they dream dreams, they apply hope and summon courage. They gather teams and pool resources. They pray prayers. Then they begin.

It doesn’t always go well.

In fact, it usually doesn’t. They tackle a daunting, overwhelming challenge with every intention of mounting a comeback like Tom Brady. Maybe they will. But nobody will make it easy.

Easy sits in a recliner, drinks cold beverages and posts a concerned Facebook comment. Easy joins the popular cause where they can hide in the crowd if things get rough. And possibly sneak out unseen. Easy demands a government agency or group of experts to fix things. Easy waits until tomorrow.

But the friends I see do not go for easy. They are compelled to take the dangerous step of trying. They see a need that no one is meeting and assign themselves the thankless job. They see that, if they don’t, it will probably never get done.

The reason I know they are out there is because these doers of the hard things have come to my aid in nightmarish times. They didn’t ask for anything. They didn’t ask if I needed help. They didn’t ask permission. They stepped in, like it or not, and stood alongside.

It’s breathtaking when you see them come for you. You know there is no benefit at all, no money or fame or power to be had. The really surprising thing is that they are everywhere – except on the news or in magazines or even blogs.

If anything, they run from such noise. They swear they are not heroes. They say ridiculous things like, “Anybody would have done it.” But we know that’s not true. Most people will not take the heart from their chest and fry it in the intense heat of these situations.

Doing the hard thing hurts. It costs time and money and emotion and blood. But there are people out there doing it every night and every day. Right now. Right here. Lots of them.

I hear people with fire in their eyes talking about how they are going to change the world. But mostly they are talking about their world. They’re thinking about computers and conveniences and glory. They want to surf the wave of the future and rack up a high score for the cameras on the beach.

But the Doers of the Hard Things are out of sight and mind, picking up the broken pieces in the shadows. You can see them if you look but you will have to look closely. They will not pose in the spotlight. They are too busy changing lives to notice the side effects of what they do . . . as they change everything.

With bowed head and fist over my heart, I solemnly salute you all.

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