• Maggie McReynolds

Un-Settling Super Powers

At age 4, I was the only member of a group of tourists play-acting as extras on a fake Western movie set to ignore our stage directions to cower when the bad guys rode into town. Instead, I put my hands on my hips and put myself between the bad guys and the rest of the "townspeople." I absolutely believed I was saving their lives.

At age 24, I almost got my boyfriend into a bar fight by defending the female bartender from the harassment of a drunk patron who refused to leave and a manager who would not come to her aid.

At age 35, I confronted an angry mob outside a journalist's office door. They were trying to break into her office and get in her face, possibly with malicious intent, because she'd chosen to cross a picket line to come to work.

At age 44, I faced down a group of judgmental parents, one of whom had just called my son "disturbed" and "homicidal" because he'd hit another child who wouldn't share the swings. He was four years old at the time.

A couple of weeks ago, I sat in a courtroom with my arm around a friend who was confronting her sexual assaulter for the first time since the attacks.

See a pattern? Yeah, I'm not so good at standing by when I think I see an injustice. This is a gift - I have been able to defend and help a few people actually in need. And it's awkward - it's a challenge for me not to jump in with both feet during even something as relatively trivial as a heated online exchange where someone is being attacked, flamed, or trolled. I'm sure there have been times when no one actually needed me to rush to their aid.

But that's how it is with super powers. They contain both light and shadow. While I may sometimes overreact, I'm mostly grateful I have my inner crusader on board, and would choose her strength any time over apathy, fear, or denial.

I wonder what your super power is. I wonder if you spend more time in its shadow or in its light.

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