Lessons I learned from my Dad (and other heroes)

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I revealed the fact that I was in fact a super-hero nerd in this post, this is a trait I got from my dad.  When I was little I was allowed to read the comic books that he bought when he was a kid, most of which were The Flash

and The Green Lantern.

We also spent many an afternoon watching the  animated X-Men series, and also Spiderman the animated series, (which was legitimately comparable to the comic book because it was also done by Stan Lee), and  I remember watching “Lois and Clark the New Adventures of Superman” when I was a mere five years old.  So, I opted to take my dad to see the new Green Lantern movie for father’s day.  The day set aside to celebrate dad, and the movie got me thinking about the lessons that my dad taught me, with the help of the superheroes I grew up with.

Everyone’s looking for a hero (or as dad would call it a Christ Figure).  Everybody needs someone to look up to, someone bigger than them and larger than life.  People want someone who is in control when they are not and can take care of them.  Even the seemingly fearless Lois Lane was only willing to fall into and out of and off of things because she knew that there was going to be someone there to catch her.
The other half of this lesson though, is that just because people need a hero doesn’t mean they always recognize this need, and their priorities become skewed.  So, when Spiderman saves 200 lives, but destroys an incredibly expensive building, suddenly all of New York is furious with him.  Everyone believes they would have been better off without their “hero”, and could’ve done it  on their own.  This lesson is twofold: 1. Sometimes the right choice isn’t the popular one, and 2. It’s always easy to decide that you could’ve done it all and done it better when you didn’t have to try.

Feeding your fear never makes the situation any better.  Often a superhero’s greatest moment of weakness is when he lets the enemy play on his fears: fear of failure, or death, or the dark.  Whatever it is, when the focus changes from what really matters to anxiety, nothing good happens.  In many ways my dad taught me this lesson by teaching me this:  Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Good wins in the end. When all hope is lost, a new corner is turned and it’s suddenly found again.  Just when the meteor is crashing towards the earth and Superman is being dragged along with it he suddenly gets one more burst of strength and pushes it hurtling back into space.  Just as Hal Jordan is about to be wiped off the face of the universe by some galactic enemy all the other Lanterns show up and the bad guy is defeated.  And three days after a rather ragtag group of individuals watched as the person they believed in was killed,  He came back to life (and that one actually happened).

Even the most heroic among us have their moments of conflict and doubt.  Just because they’re bold enough to wear spandex doesn’t mean they don’t have their moments of indecision.  Batman would be holding a bad guy over the side of a building and even though he knows he should take him in and turn him over to the police, he really wants to drop this hardened criminal over the side, but Bruce Wayne doesn’t let impulse or conflict win out.  In the end the right choice is made, despite the inner turmoil of the hero.  The doubts are not the problem, so much as what is done with them.

Finally…

Long winded monologues always end in disaster.  A bad guy’s downfall often comes when he stops his evil to tell the captured hero all about it, in excruciating detail.  So, in order to avoid this pitfall of super-villainy I’ll wrap this post up before it gets any longer.

Happy father’s day to one of my heroes!

Faith Like a Child

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Tonight was the final night of Vacation Bible School at church.  I helped out as a crew leader; meaning I helped another lady take a group of kids around to different stations with different activities, held together by a single theme.  This was my 6th time as a crew leader and just like every year as VBS ends I realize how much it blesses me and all the things it reminds me of:

I’m never too old to crawl inside a giant “whale” and relearn the story of Jonah,

I’m never too cool to run around in the grass playing freeze tag,

My palate is never too sophisticated to eat pretzels covered in frosting

and I am never, ever too fashionable to spend the week wearing a lime green shirt with a giant panda on the front.

But more than that I realized that yelling “Thank you God!”  a couple hundred times actually has made me stop and give thanks more often.

That having various leaders say that “God loves you no matter what” 40 times in one evening has caused that seemingly simple, but incredible truth to wiggle it’s way further into my brain, and my heart.

I realized that when one of my campers looked up at me and told me that she was going to miss me, and I told her I’d miss her too I really, really meant it.

That the story of salvation is always true, whether it’s told in a solemn preacher voice or by a man in a lime green shirt that happens to matches yours, as you’re sneaking away from a “Roman Soldier”.

So, you see  I’m not really so different from the kids, I’m just a little bit taller.