Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Super Powers

When my husband was a little boy, my mother-in-law made a super hero cape for him.  It was  reversible, with an S on one side and a bat on the other, so just by turning the cape from the blue side to the red, one could transform from Batman to Superman.  It was a pretty big hit with Craig and his brothers.  Eventually, when the boys grew up and had sons of their own, the cape was passed down to them.  We inherited the cape from an older cousin, just after we had McKay.  But, as you can see, the desire to be a super hero is not necessarily limited to boys.  McKay rarely wore that cape in 2006 because Emma LIVED in it.  
She loved having super powers.  She flew up and down mountainous terrain in it.  She leapt over tall bushes.  She could do amazing things when she had the cape on...and so she never took it off.

Do you have super powers?  Never mind, I'll answer that for you.  Of course you do!  We all have at least a small handful of them.  

Emma doesn't fly around the house as much today as she did when she was 6, and the cape has long since been passed down to younger cousins.  But she still has super powers.  Some of hers are fearlessness, invincibility, resilience, and determination.  

The other kids have them, too.  Savannah has leadership and charisma.  Megan has empathy, compassion and a photographic memory.  McKay has a built-in GPS and natural athletic ability.  

I have a little handful of super powers.  It's taken awhile to figure out what they are, but I have them.  When I took that photography class back in January, I discovered the first few.  I felt nervous, insecure, not very knowledgeable, and way out of my league when I first walked into that room.  I sat in the back, didn't say anything, and slipped quietly out when class was over without making eye contact with anyone else in the room.  But the next week, I thought about the things I could contribute to that group.  I wasn't the best photographer, but I was willing to learn.  I knew that I could smile, engage people in conversation, and freely gush out compliments.  So that's what I brought to class the next week.  And it worked.  I made a handful of friends and I learned to take much better pictures.  Goals accomplished.  Super powers discovered.  It was a good experience.  

Recently I started hanging out with another group of people who I feel completely inadequate around most of the time.  It's been about three months, and I almost always leave those meetings wondering, doubting, and worrying about someone or something.  I replay conversations.  I don't feel like I'm at my best in that space.  I've tried on a number of occasions to take my little handful of super powers and launch them into the group.  But so far, nothing.  I have gained neither friends nor enemies.  Three months of investment and the group remains almost entirely neutral.  It's the strangest thing I've ever been a part of.  

When I'm at my best and those super powers are effective, I'm a connector, a blender, a magnifier.  I have a genuine interest in other people, and I can connect with almost anyone.  I have learned that a few strategically placed, heartfelt compliments will break down almost any barrier.  And that everyone loves having someone else in the room light up when they walk in.  I have not managed to break down any barriers.  I am woefully disconnected.  And no one lights up when I walk in.  

What is it about this group?  How are these 13 people completely immune to my super powers?  And if they are, then why am I still in it?  

I'm still in the decision making process, but I'm leaning heavily toward backing gracefully, gratefully and happily out of this experience.  I've gotten pretty good in the past few years, at distinguishing between friendships and experiences that are uplifting and those that aren't.  This one isn't.  Maybe that's another super power?  Discernment. 

I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to have my super powers revealed to me.  It is a huge blessing to know what I have to contribute to the world and how, when used to serve and uplift, those little super powers can be as meaningful and powerful as anything Superman and Batman had to offer.


  1. The cool thing is that you had those same super powers at the age of 12... I was very aware of them at that time, but could not have described them exactly. Nonetheless, they were very present and very important in our social world. It surprises me not one bit that 30 years later they continue to work in powerful ways. Don't ever give up, but do let yourself be okay with recognizing that sometimes your super powers might be put to better use in a different situation.

    1. Oh, Amy, you are a dear dear friend to even have noticed super powers when I was 12. Thanks for the constant encouragement!

  2. So cute! I think I would have had to have a batman one for Adam and a superman for Megan!