Super Hero Power

July 8, 2010

I’m a sucker for really bad science fiction. Not the “slasher-demon-possessed-slimy-monsters” kind of sci-fi, but the “this-is-so-bad-it’s-great!” kind. You know, the kind where you can see the strings that hold up the “flying saucers” as they whiz past the camera? Classics like “Santa Clause Conquers the Martians” or “Attack of the Killer Tomato.”

My love of silly sci-fi was gratified recently, when an all-day marathon of the 1980’s TV series “Greatest American Hero” aired. I have to tell you, the show’s theme song always puts a lump in my throat (Really! Click this link to listen!). The premise of the show is that a UFO gave a red suit with a cape to an average, mild mannered high school teacher, Ralph Hinkley. When he put on the suit, he had super hero powers. But there was one problem: he lost the instructions on how to use it. So he basically had all this super-power, but couldn’t quite control it.

It was just one trial-and-error after another. Funny entertainment, but for the character’s world, it wasn’t funny for him at all. Ralph still managed to take out the bad guys, rescue the endangered, and stop disasters, but he did so with clumsy and often catastrophic movements. He crashed through buildings, flew through the air with the finesse of a bad disco dancer, and missed his mark on more than one occasion. He often felt like a failure.

Abuse survivors and Ralph Hinkley have a great deal in common. The fact that you’ve made it this far is a testimony to your strength, resilience, resourcefulness, and spirit! You have courage and power – power gifted to you by the Spirit of God. The challenge, for you, is to learn what that means and how to use it on your journey beyond abuse. Particularly in the early stages of recovery, you may feel as if you’re crashing more than landing on your feet or hurling through the air like a dodo bird rather than soaring like an eagle.  You may often feel like a failure. That’s normal AND discouraging!

So here you are, with your super hero powers that have been given to you – YES, YOU!! – and yet, you feel out-of-control. Well, you are. Take a breath. That’s normal. It takes a great deal of courage to put on that super hero suit and to take a risk – to take a chance that your life can be re-crafted. Re-formed. Restored. The courage of Ralph Hinkley was not that he had a super hero suit. It was that he took the gift he received and – despite the fact that he had no idea how to use it – he still put it on and jumped into the air. Without his actions, the suit remained in a box, dormant and useless.

The beauty of recovery – of working to reclaim your life and move beyond abuse – is that your trial-and-error process will yield amazing results. You will begin to recognize the triggers that usually send you into a tailspin and know how to recalibrate. Your vision and perception will eventually see through faulty thinking. You will challenge the way things have always been and approach old issues in new, more effective ways. Your fear will subside as you are enveloped with the strength and comfort of God’s love. You will soar in such a way that even eagles will marvel at your technique.

To do otherwise is to keep what you have been given in a box, unused. Worse yet, to take that gift out of the box, experience what is possible, and yet choose to take it off and return it to the box would be an true atrocity. Our family experienced the tragic consequences of that choice almost two years ago this month. Dave, my son-in-law committed suicide. His permanent solution to a temporary issue destroyed not only himself, but many others who loved him. A few days after his memorial service, my four-year-old grandson and I were having a conversation under the stars about Dave. My grandson said, “Grannie, Dave was a super hero. He just forgot to use his super powers one day.”

Those profound words instantly crystallized what abuse recovery really is: a struggle to remember to use your super powers. A life-and-death, moment-by-moment decision to keep that super hero suit ON and be okay with the fact that you’re still figuring out how to use it. Some days you’ll fly better than others. Some days you’ll land on your feet and other days you’ll tumble. Some days you’ll miss the side of the building, and other days you’ll smack right into it. But the point -THE POINT – is that you keep the suit on and you practice using your super powers! To do otherwise is an unnecessary tragedy.

I’ll close with the words to The Greatest American Hero (by Mike Post and Stephen Geyer, sung by Joey Scarbury) and hope you sing this at the top of your lungs today: “Believe it or not, I’m walkin’ on air, I never thought I could be so free. Flying away on a wing and a prayer. Who could it be? Believe it or not, it’s just me!”

Fly, my friend! Fly!! After all, you’re a SUPER HERO!

Written by Sallie Culbreth, Founder

Committed to Freedom

For more resources, go to our website

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One Response to “Super Hero Power”

  1. […] I'm a sucker for really bad science fiction. Not the "slasher-demon-possessed-slimy-monsters" kind of sci-fi, but the "this-is-so-bad-it's-great!" kind. You know, the kind where you can see the strings that hold up the "flying saucers" as they whiz past the camera? Classics like "Santa Clause Conquers the Martians" or "Attack of the Killer Tomato." My love of silly sci-fi was gratified recently, when an all-day marathon of the 1980's TV series "G … Read More […]

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