dreams of superheroes

Did you ever dream of being a superhero? Maybe in an actual dream, where you were asleep and your eyes were closed and your mind wandered through impossible worlds and let you accomplish impossible feats. Maybe it was more along the lines of that imaginative play, where you and your friends ceased to be you and your friends and became heroes and villains battling in a world unlike anything your parents could see. Either way, did you ever dream of being a superhero?

I did.

The first title that stands out to me is ‘The Shazam Madam’, birthed from a dream in middle school about helping a group of superheroes who had come back in time to save the world from the twisted individual my future self had become. One of those heroes, and I wish I could remember his name, became my protector, a sort-of imaginary friend who watched over me for several months. We had great adventures together.

Yes, I was that kid who played with imaginary individuals far longer than I ought to have, because my world was small and being homeschooled kept me from the ridicule that my peers would have heaped on me.

I don’t regret it or renounce it. I am who I am because of weird stuff like that.

I never claim to be normal, only to be human. (And some days I renounce even that, but that’s an entirely different story and different breed of weirdness. Some other time I’ll attempt to broach that.)

But anyway. Superheroes.

Our culture is currently fascinated by the idea of superheroes. I mean, in 2014 alone there were four superhero movies released to the big screen. Five if you count Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Why?

Because our culture longs for a hero.

At least, that’s my opinion.

I, personally, have three favorite superheroes.

(And, for the record, I don’t participate in the DC vs. Marvel hostility. Whoever makes good movies [because I also exclusively follow the cinematic universe and am completely ignorant when it comes to comic books. Judge me.] will meet with my approval.)

The first (and probably my most favorite) superhero on my list is Thor. Specifically, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor because my, that man is attractive. In addition to being superbly attractive, Thor is pretty much invincible. (Maybe Avengers: Age of Ultron will bring that statement into question, but for now I’ll abide by that assumption.) The idea of a fantastically gorgeous, mainly unbeatable superhero is just…beautiful. So, yeah; Thor’s my favorite.

Second is Superman himself. (I told you I don’t care about DC vs. Marvel.) Iconic, and probably one of the first superheroes I was ever aware of, Superman can do it all. And he’s only got one weakness: Kryptonite. A show of hands for how many people keep a stock of Kryptonite in their homes? No one? Yeah, me neither. Villains are going to have to go out of their way to take Superman down, and the chances of a villain going to that amount of effort to harm me are pretty slim. Superman’s presence would be quite the safety blanket.

Third, but definitely not least, is the supremely talented Wolverine. Now, sure, the dude’s got an anger issue, and he’s a little bit dangerous with those pointy claw-things he has, BUT he’s basically matchless. Which is why one topic you always ought to avoid around me is the 2013 movie The Wolverine. That move makes me so mad, because a character hereto portrayed as essentially invulnerable to everything suddenly gets absolutely ground to a pulp by a bunch of dudes, most of whom don’t even possess adamantium. Wolverine could SO beat a bunch of ninjas. Anyway, I won’t pursue that rabbit trail today, but the basic point here is that I am quite fond of the dangerous, impetuous man with the claws.

If you haven’t noticed yet what links these three heroes, I’ll go ahead and spell it out for you. They’re all attractive (which is important, but I’d argue not key, because there are some mighty fine men that I don’t happen to be as fond of) and they’re all pretty nearly invincible.

Our culture needs—I need—a hero who’s invincible.

Society is full of heroes. Don’t doubt it. Men and women who defy death to preserve the lives of others. Men and women who give up what could have been a prosperous and cushy life to bring hope and healing to those who can barely keep their heads above water. Men and women who selflessly pursue meeting the needs of those around them and who never get notice or accredited for their actions.

Army fatigues aren’t as flashy as capes and cowls.

Our society is so obsessed with superheroes. Maybe we’d be better off noticing our super our everyday heroes are instead.

But we still long for that invincibility. Or at least I do. Maybe you’re different. That’s okay too.

All I’m saying is that I know a guy who sacrificed his life for mine and died a totally undeserved death just so that I could live. But even in death he was too powerful for the grave that tried to hold him, just as in life he was too smart for the guys who tried to trip him up, and so I have the privilege of knowing him to today be alive and well and extremely, mind-blowingly powerful.

I’m not going to go in for any of that nearly-cheesy ‘Jesus is my Superhero’ stuff. But I’m just saying.

***

Today Sierra and Gianna and I went to the park, where a local church was hosting a free feed for the local college students. And I tied my picnic blanket around my neck and stood on a rise and let the wind ruffle my cape.

– Melissa
Hebrews 1:3