A typical Monday conversation:
(Annapolis-based) Anna: “You should come to the Tough Mudder — I’m running it in your honor!”
(Japan-based) Brett: “Get me a teleporter, and I’m there.”
Anna: *building teleporter*
God bless Anna, but that girl always makes me smile. Her answer seems facetious, of course, but it makes you think.
If you could have any super power in the world, what would it be?
- To hear like a bat?
- To fly faster than Superman?
- To travel in time?
- To read prospective clients’ minds?
There aren’t too many who would answer “the ability to balance my checkbook” or “cook a healthy dinner quickly,” I suppose. The American/Christian culture has built up ideals of greatness, of being “super”— the perfect, loving wife who prays and attends church with her husband while miraculously keeping the house clean; the neat, caring husband who brings home a regular paycheck.
Success is defined by a ladder so subconsciously insinuated we don’t even realize it: car, house, money, functional relationships, etc.
And yet, fallen (normal) people that we are, we can’t ever seem to reach that ideal, and we judge ourselves harshly for it. Maybe others, maybe not, but regardless of how much compassion with which we view our neighbors, there always seems to be that niggling voice of inner doubt that says, if we don’t have it all, somewhere we messed up.
What if we just chalked up being perfect to … oh wait, even Superman had some serious flaws … well, God, then. Put perfection up there with flying and forgave ourselves the rest? Or, even better, saw the small miracles that sometimes make up the lack. Like my Tough Mudder — goodness knows I would give the world to be with my East Coast family and friends again. I would love nothing more than to be able to promise I’ll make that race or party or wedding. But I won’t — I can’t. I don’t have a magical teleporter. I do, however, have magical technological devices that allow me to send pictures of goofy grins to my family and to cheer up my would-be racing companions.
Is it enough? No, not really always. But it’s something.
And that “something,” I think, is what we as Christians and as people need to be intentional about looking for. No, that vision is not “classically” beautiful — but how about that exceptional lighting? No, that “sinner” hasn’t completely reformed — but look how far he’s come. No, our businesses aren’t making as much money as we would like — but look at all the good we’ve done in the community. Is it flashy and concrete and mesmerizing, like a superhero’s glamor?
But sometimes it does take preternatural strength to see the good in bad situations. And that, I think, is a super power worth having.
Flickr photo by Kooroshication
About Brett Beeson
Brett Beeson, officially, is an ensign (officer) in the United States Navy, currently attached to DDG54 Curtis Wilbur out of Yokosuka, Japan. She graduated in 2014 from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Arabic and a minor in Spanish. Unofficially, she is the “evil twin” (one of Jory’s twin daughters), that annoying-friend-who-won’t-stop-calling, perpetual questioner, ice cream enthusiast, scribbler, roarer-of-laughter, and eternal student of God’s amazing mysteries. After extensive travel in Morocco and Oman, she has become passionate about furthering her/our understanding of the Middle East and Islam. To enjoy more of Brett’s writing, please visit Randomness with Brett.