Summer frequently provides a time to get back to basics, to be outdoors, to carve a bit of time for the garden or to enjoy the newly released blockbuster movies and beach reads. While Katie can get lost in historical fiction, Meb is renewing herself by peeling back the onion-like layers of her life, and lifelong Trekkie Joan is thrilled to have a new Star Trek movie on the scene. We hope that you too have had a chance to find a moment or two for stepping out of the ordinary and into another world. Perhaps you have found a spot to cherish where, as we suggested last month, you can take a moment for reflection. This month, Joan shares her thoughts about the block busters in her own life and how it's the Superhero we all relate to that helps sustain us. Chris Hemsworth says, "Being a Superhero is a lot of fun," but Superheroes challenge us not only to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but to recognize that inside every Superhero are lessons to be learned about doing what we can, when we can, where we can, truth be told, in a Mother Teresa kind of way.
This summer try on your own superhero costume and see what good you can do in the world.
Joan, Katie and Meb
Have you ever been so happy you wanted to do somersaults? Well that was me on the 4th of July as I finally got back on my road bike for a real ride. While my stationary bike provides exercise and a great opportunity for catching up on reading, it is just not the same as being outdoors. To be honest, I have to admit to a bit of trepidation; after all, I broke my hip in January just walking on the sidewalk. But it's summer and part of my ritual is a 15 mile ride by the ocean nearly every day. As I was gearing up mentally for this year's maiden voyage, I thought about the multitude of comments made about my propensity to fall - usually from doing too many things at once, and the fact that at age 30 my bones were already well into their 90s. My husband looked into body armor before he decided on designer sneakers. My friends offered a myriad of suggestions of how to be safe; I just thought I needed thicker skin to navigate the reality of life with a walker and then cane. Like the Maine lobsters of summer that shed their hard skin in the warmer water, we all have our moments of vulnerability before our shell replenishes itself and we are once again whole.
As I drank in the salty Pacific Ocean air, pedaling along and proud of myself for mastering my fears, I thought about this notion of toughening up our outer layer. My mind wandered to the summer movie schedule and the weekend's top grosser, Man of Steel. I realized that while Superman debuted nearly 75 years ago, his appeal is ageless. Unlike the countless other superheroes who turn colors or don costumes bordering on the bizarre, Superman was the real deal: quiet, unassuming, reticent. A red cape, blue tights and he was transformed, saving others and leaving the credit behind.
Thinking of Superman, I had time to think about the Superwomen that were important in the lives of my friends and recently lost. They were mothers and friends: tough, focused, proud and resilient. They didn't wear body armor either, just their hearts on their sleeve: relentless, loyal and fierce. I thought about the Superwomen I have been fortunate enough to know and I realized that like Superman, the Superwomen in each of our lives save us. Thankfully, most of the time, the issues are not quite the life or death scenarios illustrated in the comics. In the real circumstances of life these women support us in our crises of faith, the times when we are paralyzed with doubt or fear of failure. They sustain and nourish us celebrating our successes and our survival. Whether it's a phone call at just the right time, a plate of cookies or even a funny or beautiful email, they have a way of stepping in and stepping up for us. We learn from these Superwomen by observation and imitation, through dialogue, sharing our life journeys and finding mutual respect and understanding. These unsung heroes may not have a movie of their own, but it feels good to take a moment of reflection to recognize that we know who they are and how they shape us.
It's inevitable that I'll fall and probably break again. With my Superwomen surrounding me, those here present and those who have passed on, I know that like the summer lobster my shell will harden, my resolve will always return, and I will get back on the bike or the horse or whatever and be saved. Just in case though, I think I will go out this week and buy a pair of bright blue tights. I may even buy some extras and toss in a cape or two to hand out to my superhero friends. (Joan)
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