Thankful for Super Heroes

Super hero and Isu·per
 /ˈso͞opər/ adjective
 1. exhibiting the characteristics of its type to an extreme or excessive degree
he·ro /ˈhi(ə)rō/ noun
 1. a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

Last year, made a rather lengthy list of all the things I am grateful for. And that list still stands (mostly), but this year, I want to focus on one thing in particular that I am thankful for. If you’re as clever as I think you are, you’ve already deduced that this post is about super heroes. Just maybe not the ones you are used to.

Sure, Batman is brave. Superman is strong. Spiderman is agile. Green Lantern is fearless. But we already know this.

No, what I am thankful for are the ones that slip seemingly unnoticed through life. Unnoticed to all but those whom idealize them. All who believe that they, by the very definition of super hero, exhibit courageous, outstanding, or noble characteristics to an extreme or excessive degree.

In my life, when I think of super hero, I can only think of one person: my father.

In the face of adversity, he has stood tall. Where even the strongest have stumbled, he strides confidently. I’ve read my fair share of stories of other Super Heroes who beat the odds through sheer determination and will. I read these stories and aspire to face challenges in my life with as much gusto as those who have seen far worse.

You think you’re safe, when you read the tales. You think “Yea, they might have someone they love with cancer, but my family is normal.” And then one day you get a phone call and everything changes.

Everything changes.

It doesn’t change when you get dressed in the morning or ride the bus to work. It doesn’t change when you watch movies or catch up with friends. It changes when you give a hug, when you call home to see “How things are going.” And it really changes when things stop working.

But, my Super Hero, what never changed was his spirit.

I’ve never before seen this first-handed. I’ve heard the stories, but to witness this in my own father was an incredibly humbling experience. He went into a speedy remission the first time and an even speedier return to Chemo. That said, he still smiled to everyone, assuring us that everything would be fine. My mother was in on it too.

I couldn’t believe it. Where I feel like falling to pieces, he keeps it together. I see him after just a few months abroad and he seems to have aged years. I hear the doctors give the percentages and all I can think to do is break down and give up. Not him. Strong-willed to an excessive degree.

And for that, I idealize him. My Super Hero. At the time I write this, we still don’t know the outcome. But he knows; win or lose this battle, everything will be OK in the end. He knows that the best thing we can do is think positively and live our lives unhindered. I’ve offered to move 2,770 miles home to be there and help in the ways I can. He stands firm– he wants us to keep going.

He wants us to keep going. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

And that, of all the things in my life I am thankful for, is the one that counts. Inspiration is one hell of a thing. If he can keep going, I definitely can.

Dad– thank you. If we have today, thank you. If we have a year, thank you. If we have 20 years, thank you. Thank you for being someone I will always aspire to be; today, tomorrow, or 20 years from now.


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