What Is Your Superpower?

When I was around ten years old, I looked out the window and my grandfather was drowning! Minutes before, he’d been standing in the shallow-end and everything was fine. Now his baseball cap was floating in the deep end of our swimming pool. He was a farmer and there had always been too much work on the farm to learn how to swim.

Have you ever noticed that as we get older, we seem to reach the age where we stop believing or attempting the impossible?  In time, everything becomes routine and we begin to stop dreaming. Just like muscles that atrophy without use, our dreaming muscles get weak.

Then it happens. There is a tragedy or an accident, a set back, Cancer; something happens and we feel powerless.

As a pastor, I can’t tell you how many people have come to me with questions and broken hearts. Be it a failed marriage, bankruptcy, diseases, there are a lot unsettling circumstances in this world.

Then there are the movies, right? Most of us like a good story we just don’t want to be the main character when bad things happen.  But to be a good story, there has to be a disaster.

Here’s a short synopsis. First, there is always the setting. Second, something happens, or goes terribly wrong. The plane, for example, that was flying smoothly just moments before hits turbulence and plummets to the earth. Most are killed upon impact but nine of the passengers live.

After the crash, or set back, you begin to wonder how the story is going to end. Maybe right about now you feel like the plane crashed and there are only nine survivors. How are you, the hero, going to survive and reach safety?  What steps do you take to get off the island and back to the mainland?

Bam! We all have a Superpower. The people on the island reach the mainland again and so do we. It may be because we exercise our superpowers or someone else exercises theirs and the helicopter comes along and lifts us to safety on a stretcher made out sticks and rope.

Here are some characteristics of Super heroes.

  1. Many times, we aren’t aware of our superpower until called upon to use it. Your daughter has Cancer and you stay by the bedside day after day even when it looks like there is no hope. Or, you lose your job and have no idea how you’re going to feed your wife and kids and pay the mortgage. Or, you lose both of your parents in a car wreck. Up until these things happen, we usually feel special in no way at all, but when we’re called on to rise to the occasion, we accomplish the extraordinary. Are you with me?
  2. We often have day jobs. Clark Kent works for the Newspaper. Bill Bixby is a scientist. Although they are capable of great feats, they pass the hours in between being productive and making a  contribution to the world. You may work a job with little recognition then come home and cook supper and help the kids do homework. When your head hits the pillow at night you’re exhausted.  That’s what superheroes do.
  3. We are human. The Hulk has a temper. Clark Kent is insecure. Wolverine is torn between a desire to live peacefully and a need to defend himself against those who wish to harm him. None of us are perfect. In fact, in the words of a good friend, we are perfectly flawed. But because of this, we see ourselves in them and them in ourselves. Somehow we’re hopeful. We realize that our flaws are no excuse to sit on the sidelines and not exercise our superpower. We may not be able to save the world, but we can all do something. We all may not be able to fight, but we can at least carry bullets. We may not have a million dollars but we can give someone bus fare when they ask.
  4. We live marked lives. Despite the fact that we are trying to help the world, there are forces and people who wish to destroy us. There’s an age old world of good vs. evil and the bad guys are out to get the good guys. While it’s difficult enough to pull off the feats that we do, superheroes must always be vigilant for their enemies as well as the falling towers!
  5. We’re likable. Even when we’re gruff. People still can’t help but like us. Why? Because despite all of the challenges we face and our frailties, people love us. In some cases, they love us even more because they realize we are not going to give up despite our struggles. We find out we are a bundle of weakness and strengths. In some cases, we even grow.  Don’t ever believe it when someone tells you they never struggle.

I don’t know what you’re facing right now, but I do know this. You are capable of more than you realize. Up until now you were probably hoping to pass through this world unscathed. Unfortunately, nobody goes through life without pain and suffering, especially when you’re a superhero. But there is good news.

You may find that you are capable of more than you ever realized. Keep doing the ordinary until you’re called upon to do the extraordinary. Remember you’re human and that all kinds of opposition surfaces when you attempt anything worthwhile. You’re also not only likable, you’re loved. Breathe.  It’s o.k to be human.

By God’s gracee, I got to my grandfather in time and eased him back up into the shallow waters. Yet one day, years later, I did end up standing by his bedside as he lay there lifeless. I couldn’t help but stare at his wedding ring. Despite all of his trials and heartaches, he had been a faithful husband and transformed the lives of many people, especially mine. But what strikes me now as I look back is this. That day I jumped in the pool I learned I was capable of more than I could have ever imagined. Not just physically, although that was part of the lesson. I found out I had the power to save someone’s life. Not just anyone, but someone I loved dearly. Go save a life!

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