If asked what superpower ability, like the comic book characters of Superman and Wonder Woman, I would wish to have, what would that be, and why would I want that special ability? This is difficult! Being such a realist, this potential flight of fancy really stretches me. But, determined to meet the health writer’s 30 day challenge, here’s my response to the question.
As a girl I experienced incredible frustration when, while attending summer school between my third and fourth grade, I was asked to do something I had no clue how to do. The assignment was to write a tall tale. I wasn’t sure what a tall tale was, and I was stupefied and clueless where to begin. The teacher and I did not have effective communication, and I don’t believe she ever listened to the fact that I had no definition for that particular form of short story fiction. Now the incident amuses me, and serves as a great illustration of communication breakdown. However, then it was quite distressing to me as I failed to comprehend how to do the task the teacher was expecting.
Now, you can ask me to write about something real, any observation or an experience, and my fingers fly rapidly like tap dancers on my computer keys. But still, when asked to make up a story — the clicking halts abruptly and my fingers and brain freeze. I subconsciously go right back to that moment in the school room, and rehearse the temporary mental shut-down. Ironically, I now know that the classic early American “tall tale” was about a burly over-sized and incredulously strong lumberjack John Bunyan and Babe, his big blue ox. The pair was attributed with accomplished amazing feats in the minds of the storytellers and those who listened to them spin their tall tales of fancy. Bunyan was one of our first mythical American superheros, much like Superman of the next century comic books.
I have asked myself about this superpower idea over and over, and still cannot really decide what type of superhuman power I most would wish to have. I cannot imagine myself on the pages of a graphic novel accomplishing superhuman feats. This is beyond my imagination. As a lupus patient, my abilities sag far short of anything close to approaching superhuman strength. Some days, just getting up getting through the brain fog far enough to be ready to go to work is enough challenge. You see, I still will have difficulty writing about this unless I could come up with an idea that was really something I would want to be able to do.
So, perhaps I should start by ask myself a very different question: If I were to be able to change unacceptable circumstances (disregarding for the moment whether I could do it) what would I change? Here are a few possibilities in my pondering that I might consider:
- Make everyone who is sick well
- Enlighten the minds of those who unfairly judge chronically ill people
- Encourage others to believe in and feel good about themselves
- Help the faithless understand the forgiveness and love of God available to them
- Cause my garden to grow bountifully, without weeds and producing lots of extra veggies and flowers to share
- Banish all the self-destructive addictions that trouble and destroy the quality of life for those burdened by them
The first and last wishes fall clearly into the class of “God things,” that can be only accomplished by Him. These feats are vastly beyond even the abilities of the mythical Superman and Wonder-woman. These are done in God’s providence and kindness, touching one person at a time. Many of us wish for these, but even in considering a hypothetical superpower, we would not expect our comic book heroes to be all powerful.
Beyond these two, the second, third and fourth wishes embrace goals that to one degree or another are already possible in human experience. These four goals motivate action and contribute to my sense of purpose and meaning. To make a difference in these areas, a superpower ability is not what I need. However, I do need to reach out beyond being passive and take some risks to go outside my comfort zone. I pray for God’s help and borrowed ability to do that, and sometimes by God’s grace, human efforts make a difference in some people’s lives that touch mine.
As for my garden, that seems like it should be simple. Hard work and tending are required, along with weeding, sun, healthy soil, good weather and water, since there are no shortcuts to a bountiful harvest of edible produce and beautiful blooms to brighten my personal world. This seems like a shallow and self-serving wish, but to be honest, it is something I really must admit crosses my amateur gardener’s mind regularly! I like gardening immensely, but admit that I am not very good at it.
Otherwise, I am content to be who God created me to be, and have decided I will pass on the idea of any phantom superpower wish. I like being who God made me, just like I am, lupus and limits and all. I will accept the boundaries God has graciously appointed unto me.