“With great power comes great responsibility.”
-The Amazing Spiderman
(FYI: Although the movies would have you believe Uncle Ben imparts this wisdom to his nephew Peter Parker, in print it’s spoken by the narrator).
Let me tell you a little back story on the picture taken by my student.Several years ago (I’ll keep to myself just how many) I graduated from High School and spent the summer after volunteering as a counselor, a lifeguard, a vice dorm mom, and whatever else the dean of the week might need.
At one of the elementary camps I had a wonderful little boy in my family group. He was the cutest kid you ever did see. Not only the cutest but the kindest. After he’d finish eating he’d always offer to take the trays of those sitting around him. He would offer a kid his place in line at game time. He’d help others find the scriptures we’d talk about in classes.
After the third day I noticed he had only been wearing superhero shirts/clothing (even too the pool). I asked him why that was and he responded, “It’s how I tell people about Jesus. They look at my shirt and ask who it is and I get to talk to them about these cool superhero’s who risk their life saving people. But that’s no big deal when my God gave his son and he really did give his life to save ALL people, not just some.”I’m not a cryer… but I’ll be honest, I welled up. This kid was a third my age and was knocking my spiritual socks off.
At the end of the week we had a night swim at the local town pool. He left one of his shirts behind and I couldn’t catch him before the night was out. I tracked him down the next morning (the day we were packing to leave) to give it back. He said he’d already packed his bags, that he had more than enough and to keep it. (Yeah, yeah, I can fit in youth sized clothes [not as well as I did when I was 17 though]… bring on the tiny jokes.) That was the first superhero shirt I ever got (I now own over 30).
When I decided to go off to Ozark Christian College the spiderman movies were making a big splash. My mom and I went shopping for my dorm room and she said I could spend some money on a new bed set. I walked up and down the isle and only one set caught my eye. Yup, spiderman.
Living in an all girl dorm, spiderman sheets were not…shall we say, the norm. This in combination with my growing superhero shirt collection meant I quickly became known as the girl who liked Marvel. In my sophomore year I worked with a wonderful woman (who was also my RA) Maria Roth (Barnhart at the time). Her future husband Joe showed up one day to pick her up and walk her to dinner and with him he brought a thick rolled canvas. To my surprise he handed it to me simply saying he thought I’d enjoy it.
To say simply, “I’ve enjoyed it” would be an understatement. I immediately hot glued it to my dorm rooms white cinderblock walls. I’ve spent hours with my glasses on, nose nearly touching it’s surface to make out all the faces and identify all of the characters. Now, it’s glued (once again to white cinderblock walls) above my desk (it’s much more portable than my bedspread and I’m not allowed to wear t-shirts every day to work).
I buy shirts, posters, socks, shoes, and everything else in between that has superhero’s. Every time I see a superhero on one of them, poised to save the day, I still think of how a boy taught me just how big a difference there is between a hero and a savior.