Last week we were saddened by the untimely passing of Chadwick Boseman, the star of the recent Marvel adventure film “Black Panther”. I have to admit, I had not watched the movie until Sunday evening when it was shown on ABC, followed by a tribute to the late star. Such an amazing young man, with so much to say, and taken from this realm so soon. I intend to watch his portrayals of Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and Thurgood Marshall in three of his other films.
It occurred to me that many of our “superhero” powers as adults developed from challenges we faced as children. I know my rescuer tendencies relate to my feeling the need to protect my siblings from an abusive father. Similarly, my peacemaker skills grew from childhood as I intervened between my bickering parents through my attempts to create shalom in our home. These places of early pain were used by our amazing Abba to build me into a person moving closer to His image.
Our personalities can be shaped by adversity, and by good experiences as well. Perhaps the good days– of kindness, love, happy times – form the core for the adverse ones to be worked through as He sculpts us more toward His likeness each day, a likeness of selfless giving to others in love.
The motivation to be a superhero is a good one. It starts young. Underoos (for those too young to remember were/are(?) children’s underwear with superhero motifs) were the incentive to my children for potty training. And it worked! Not to mention the countless superhero costumes and games that our youngsters love. Having the ability to overcome our weaknesses and help others is a worldview that inspires our children and one to cultivate as we mature. Wasn’t Yeshua the greatest Superhero of all? He who gave His life saving others?
I know in the eyes of my small children, I was probably perceived as a superhero (for a very short period of time). As we grow, and if we learn from our mistakes and stay focused on the goal of living a life in Him, we move farther along the continuum of selfless living. We are encouraged by reminders, when we read Scripture, when we learn of heroic acts of others, or even when we watch an action film, one, by the way, with an important message for our time about our need to live together as if we were all members of the same tribe (from a scene during the closing credits of Black Panther.)
We read amazing stories of true heroism, a young 18 year old just last week who lost her life saving three drowning children. The father caught in a riptide saving his son. A person selflessly donating her kidney so another can live. The ability to grow as a superhero remains with us throughout our lives. Just as HaShem gave His son, and Yeshua His life for us, we remain inspired to be better each day.
You don’t have to think big to be a superhero. Even a smile from a distance can do wonders to lift the spirit of the recipient of such unasked for love. A simple phone call. Sharing a meal. Offering a ride. A thank you note. Great starters as we reframe our daily thinking to that of loving others. As we do smaller acts of lovingkindness, others may naturally follow. You don’t have to share a kidney. Just share your heart.
A terrible tragedy to lose Chadwick Boseman, a light to the world. Yet this unanticipated loss has brought his name into many more households and shined the light of HaShem so brightly into some rather dark days. With such an amazing reminder and inspiration that good really never dies but lives on in the lives we touch, may your journey this week be filled with countless opportunities to love selflessly.
Be a superhero.