But this week, this week the capes came out and the masks were donned at Royal Family Kids Camp – a special camp for abused or neglected children.
This week, over 100 superheroes banded together to fight evil. To “punch the devil right in the nose” as has been said. Donning camp t-shirts and superhero masks, the true selves came out. There’s Queen Bonnie, who valiantly launders soiled bedding and clothes. Lifeguard Peter who can be a mean old pirate or your best buddy, depending on your pool manners. Mail-lady Audrey, who can run circles around your local mail-man even though she can’t run a mile. And Tea Party Leslie, who reminds you with a smile that “when in doubt, pinkies out.”
These are their true selves. These are the selves that love tirelessly, that get smacked (sometimes literally) and offer the other cheek, that dress up for tea parties and dance like gorillas just to get a smile or a hug. These are our truest selves. The selves who see the person instead of the problem. The selves who step beyond denomination in the name of love. The selves who stand up to evil and say YOU. WILL. NOT. WIN.
This is why I call them Superheroes. It takes a super strength – one that can only come from a Source greater than us – to stare into the face of a ten-year-old who cuts herself to feel better … or a nine-year-old that finds it easier to communicate with fists than with words … or a six-year-old with cigarette-burn scars … and show them that love will win. That they are more valuable than anything that’s been done to them. That there’s another way. That there are safe people and safe hugs.
When people ask me if I had a good week at Royal Family Kids Camp, I always pause. Yes, yes I had an amazing week. I saw love win. But also, also I had to see things that I wish weren’t true. I had questions that went unanswered. I saw things I can’t control or prevent or turn back the clock for.
But see, this is when superheroes are needed most. When love and hope and trust are threatened. When nightmares come true. And so we don the capes and shed the business jackets. Put on the tea party dresses in lieu of a stethoscope. And dance like no one’s watching (in fact, kinda hoping that they’re not).
But the thing about superheroes is, even when they’re in their secret identities – as Doctors and Nurses and Lawyers and Salesmen and such – they are forever watching, forever praying, forever aware of the children that need their love, and willing to give it in a moment’s notice.
And this world is a better place for it. These kids are better for it. I am better for it.
What about you? Have you met a superhero lately?