Let Your Inner Superhero Out
Inside me is a superhero. His name is Jack. I discovered him at the tender age of 4 years old when my mother went into the yard to call me in for lunch. Putting her hand to her mouth she called, “David! Oh, David!” I was always quick to reply so my silence concerned her. She went around the house calling me for several minutes, getting increasingly worried by my absence. Finally when I emerged from my hiding place in the basement she asked, “Sweetie, why didn’t you answer me? I was so worried!” to which I looked her innocently and replied, “But did you call, Jack! Oh Jack!”
Amused she replied, “Well no. Why would I call you Jack?”
“Because I am Jack the Giant Killer!” I declared.
And so was born inside of me Jack – not an alter ego like some hidden, mysterious type of superhero who lurks in the dark or hides his identity, but a bold superhero who wasn’t afraid to show the world my powers. Jack was a giant killer. When I was Jack, I was a swift problem solver, speedy to rush into danger when others held back, boldly offering myself for small tasks and impossible adventures alike. After all, my given name was David. I was named after a boy king who three millennia ago notably killed a tremendous giant emboldening an entire army to win a bloody battle. Giant killing was in my nature – in my very names.
When I was very young, my superhero appeared any time one of my parents asked me to “turn on my full power.” This was our secret code and it charged me like a lightning bolt, giving me the energy to right any wrong. Often the wrongs were things like picking up my toys in a messy basement, or moving yard waste into the garbage can, but these were challenges that I nobly performed to prove my virtue, my strength, my integrity.
“I can’t do this math!” I whined to my mother one evening as I struggled over long division at the kitchen table.
She glanced over her shoulder while stirring dinner on the stove and called out, “Have you given it your full power?” The surge propelled my mind back into my task until I triumphantly placed my finished worksheet in my school bag.
“This lawn mower is too heavy to push up this hill!” I complained to my father one morning while we were doing yard work.
“I expect you could do it if you gave it your full power,” and he sat back and watched as I redoubled my efforts and pushed with energy I didn’t know I had until I mounted the hill. And so I built my superhero qualities day by day.
Of course, a defining characteristic of all superheroes is that we must have people to protect, and most often those people were my younger brother and sisters. I am the oldest of seven children, so my kingdom was huge! As King David I could be bossy, impatient, selfish, even cruel at times with my younger brothers and sisters, but Jack was always a protector. Jack gave good gifts. Jack was kind and thoughtful. Jack was vulnerable but strong.
I also knew that all great superheroes derive our powers from a source beyond ourselves. This power is only bestowed on people with benevolent motives and true and pure hearts. As a child I relished the stories of other great giant killers – King Arthur, Martin Luther, Abraham Lincoln . . . but my favorite childhood stories were of Jesus.
“For I have overcome the world,” He said. Overcome the world. Jesus overcame everything painful this world could produce. He was not fettered by any corrupt thing. He was not persuaded by any destructive force. He had overcome the most incredible giant that ever existed – the nature of mankind in a fallen world. Jesus was a healer and protector of souls. He overcame death and promised that other giant killers could find the same source of power that He offered. Early in my life, Jack and I both promised to follow Him.
So I set out on my life’s journey like a young Don Quixote . . . dreaming, fighting, and striving upward . . . beaten down at times, only to rise again with more courage, more strength and more determination than before. Later in life I found my theme song from the Man of La Mancha and it still makes me cry when I sing it.
To dream the impossible dream. . .
To fight the unbeatable foe . . .
To bear with unbearable sorrow . . .
To run where the brave dare not go!
To right the un-rightable wrong . . .
To love, pure and chaste from afar . . .
To try when your arms are too weary . . .
To reach, the unreachable star!
This is my quest!
To follow that star!
No matter how hopeless . . .
No matter how far!
To fight for the right . . .
Without question or pause . . .
To be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause!
And I know!
If I’ll only be true!
To this glorious quest . . .
That my heart . .
Will lie peaceful and calm . . .
When I’m laid to my rest.
. . . and the world, will be better for this . . .
That one man, scorned and covered with scars . . .
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage
To reach! The unreachable . . . STAR!!!
Onward and Upward!
-Zoomin Dave Newman
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