This year was no different from any other year. It had its share of joy, pain, blessing and tragedy.

The list of catastrophes included flooding, a bridge collapse and uncontrollable wildfires. All left a path of destruction and devastation; homes, infrastructure and lives all in need of being rebuilt.

These are the evident ruins we read about in this very newspaper, but there are veiled disasters all around us.

Everyone you encounter today has been through adversity, because no one gets through life unscathed. Tragedy can strike anyone, at any time: a family member falls ill, a job is lost, a marriage breaks up.

Most of these personal cataclysms will not make the nightly news, even though they are as much a part of natural law as a winter storm. Whether we are aware or not, we live among the broken hearted.

The damage exists, but many of these lonely souls walk around as if they are still solid structures. On the surface they appear to have it all together, but underneath, the emotional cracks in the foundation are deepening.

Author Donald Miller says we are called to "hold our hands against the wounds of a broken world, to stop the bleeding."

The problem is, in our modern-day solitary society, we have become blind to the real person. Self-absorbed, we hide behind our computers, cell phones and caller ID.

When a life situation becomes too difficult to handle, Google becomes our god. After all, we would not want anyone to think we have a problem we can't solve on our own.

The grumpy person sitting in the cubicle next to you may be thousands of dollars in debt. That disagreeable store clerk may have been late for work because her car broke down, again.

In most tragic situations, heroes emerge. These courageous types risk their own security to protect the well being of others. This is where you and I come in.

Perhaps you've never seen yourself as heroic, but with a small investment of time and attention, you could be the next superhero.

It could be as easy as smiling at someone who appears to be having a bad day. It may sound corny, but a simple act of kindness is the equivalent of wielding a mighty sword.

Jamie Tworkowski, founder of the To Write Love On Her Arms movement, says, "We are only asked to love, to offer hope to the many hopeless. We don't get to choose all the endings, but we are asked to play the rescuers. We won't solve all mysteries and our hearts will certainly break in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best way."

Life is a series of regeneration: construction, destruction, rebuilding. It may be easier to keep relationships shallow, but easy is rarely better.

Don the cape and sweep into action by raising some walls today.

Lisa Grant is a freelance writer and columnist for Coulee Parenting Connection magazine. She also publishes a newsletter for Christian parents of teenagers. She is one of 13 Tribune Community Columnists, whose writing appears on the Sunday Opinion pages.

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