Several years ago, Max and I were having a conversation about what it would be like to achieve your most amazing dream and how you would live your life after achieving it. For example, if you got to walk in space, how would it be to come back to earth? You wouldn’t ever want to forget how it felt to walk in space, and what could possibly compare to that feeling?
I asked Max, “What do you think would be the most amazing thing you could ever achieve or experience?” He said, “Riding on a rocket that was also a bunny that could shoot hamburgers out of its eyes and they would be the most incredible hamburgers you ever tasted in your whole life.” And after that, I didn’t even want to mention mine. Not much can follow how amazing a flying eyeball-hamburger-shooting-bunny would make you feel.
This past weekend, Max’s brother Shane was back home for a visit from Oregon. On his last evening at my house, we were all sitting at the kitchen table, talking. Max told us that he was working on how to communicate a problem to his friends. Max explained that he was feeling like there was some drama and sadness in his group and he felt it was important for him to communicate the importance of love and acceptance. I said to Max, “I think that you are an empath. You actually can feel what other people feel and it affects you, and you want to help fix people’s pain.” Shane said, “Max, that’s your superpower.”
Max’s face lit up. As I watched my sons talk, I realized what Shane had done. In one word, he took all the negativity Max had associated with how he felt about his friends and their well-being and he turned it all into something powerful and positive. He named Max’s empathy his superpower.
When he was in daycare, Shane’s teachers used to write on his report cards, “Shane is going to grow up to be a superhero.” It’s possibly my fault because I let him wear a Batman costume for a year when he was three years old. But that kid will always be like my favorite superhero, Batman, to me. Batman is my favorite superhero because he doesn’t have special abilities, like Superman. He has a moral compass, he has strategies, he has intelligence. His heroism comes from a belief in the power of good and a willingness to keep fighting for justice. Those are actually Batman’s superpowers. My Shane’s superpower is his steadfast willingness to look for and name the best in every situation and in every person, no matter how difficult. Batman would be proud.
We all have superpowers, I believe. We all have the ability to hack more love and acceptance into our lives and the lives of those around us. None of us can exactly know what another is thinking or feeling. But we can have each other’s backs, for sure. We can lift each other up, help each other get to those amazing experiences and feelings we so richly deserve.
Maybe it’s a ride on a bunny rocket shooting delicious hamburgers out of its eyes. Or maybe it’s helping someone in our lives feel better and do better. Maybe it’s helping yourself. Maybe you need to love yourself a little harder and forgive yourself a little more. Everyone deserves a superhero. And anyone can be their own superhero. I hope you find yours – or that you realize you are yours.
“Everything’s impossible until somebody does it.” – Batman