The mark of a real superhero . . .

Me and Batman!
Me and Batman!
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So, I recently went to a 40th birthday party for a friend of mine…it was a glorious, sunny afternoon with people of all ages, enjoying the hog roast and cakes. There was music in the background and much laughter in the air…when all of a sudden, a kind of hush came over the group. As I looked up, the children were staring in awestruck wonder at something; even the adults had stopped talking…and then I spotted the source of the wonder.

Batman had just entered the arena. The effect on my friend’s 3-year-old son was magical…after the initial excitement, he hurried off inside and came back with his new lunch box, keen to show Batman that he was a superhero fan. Batman was really good, getting down to the level of the children, speaking gently and encouraging them to do well in the various games he played with them.

I wasn’t the only one that wanted to get my picture taken with him, keen to mark the occasion, like the many children after me who wanted a keepsake of the time they met their superhero.

I am fortunate to have children that enjoy watching Spiderman and Batman and so I am familiar with the general storyline…a caped crusader coming to the aid of ordinary folk in trouble…with the added drama that there is always a villain that needs fighting.

Life can feel like a villain sometimes…whether it’s a life changing diagnosis or financial worries, unexpected redundancy or relationship breakdown, difficult situations sap us of our strength and reserves, like kryptonite to our souls. There are days when we could all do with a superhero in our lives...someone to turn up at the right moment, defend us, fight for us and tell us “It’s going to be all right”.

I think that is why the poem “Footprints” made such an impact on me when I was a teenager…this picture of God carrying me when life gets tough was one I could really relate to and continues to encourage me that I’m not alone. Life at the moment for me and many of my friends is complex in its twists and turns, from good, to bad, to frankly ridiculous, leaving us with the feeling of “Really? Can it get any worse?” It seems we could all do with some outside help.

A friend of mine has recently been through all the situations I have mentioned and more, and yet she is a calm, gracious, loving woman, who carries on giving and showing kindness to those that have wronged her. She accepts that this is how it is and chooses to face the ‘villains’ with determination, courage and joy…a real “Kill them with kindness.” attitude that I aspire to...

When I look at her, I realise that there are superheroes that live amongst us…we only get to see them when the going gets tough; they seem to shine brighter the darker it gets…they encourage us, just like the party Batman, to join in the game of life, to keep going, even though it’s hard and to hold on, even if it’s by our fingertips…