Many of us have a favorite Superhero whose super powers we admire – Superman with his ability to fly, super strength, and the ability to leap from tall buildings, Spiderman with his ability to scale tall buildings, swing from building to building, tie the bad guys up with his webs, or Batman in his bat-mobile fighting crime in Gotham city. What they have in common is they use their super powers for good.
In real life, I see superheroes all around. I met some of them in the halls of long term care facilities and patient rooms. I witnessed their superpowers of love and kindness as I spotted them fixing the ladies hair, picking out favorite outfits, making sure the men were shaved, and doing every other little task to make these residents’ lives nice. I saw them singing to patients, playing games, reading to some, sitting beside windows and talking for hours, and feeding others.
Other superheroes I have come to know are moms and dads of special needs children struggling with various physical conditions- from muscular dystrophy to paralysis to cerebral palsy and more. Parents and grandparents who care for these children day after day have always made me appreciate how love drives those in life to do what others may consider difficult or impossible. These heroes care for their little ones – taking them to frequent doctor or hospital visits, going through all the ups and downs of medical issues that arise, and kiss them and love them all day long.
Some superheroes care for aging parents or mates or injured family members day after day. One superhero came to my life as a friend. His wife later told me how he felt I was alone and he wanted them to ‘take me under their wings.’ They frequently invited me to dinner and walks in the park, made wooden jumping poles for my horses, shared every achievement with me, bought equipment they knew me and my horses would cherish, drove me and my injured horse to the veterinary clinic in Columbus, Ohio, and were there for me in many, many ways. Over the years I realized I never recognized the love I was shown specially by my friends. They were superheroes sent to make my life better.
Many make sacrifices and consider their care routine and just part of each day. I have come to realize that sometimes we do not change situations. Disability is still present, worsening medical conditions, addictions, struggles, etc, may remain but we have the ability to use our superpowers of love and kindness and patience and hard work to ease the suffering and struggle of others.
One favorite story I remember goes like this – a man was walking down the road and happened upon a robin lying on its back, with its feet in the air. “Little Robin, why are you lying on your back in the middle of the road?” the man asked. “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!” the Robin replied. “But why are your feet sticking up in the air?” the man pressed. “Because,” said the little bird, “one must do what one can.”
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