Gravity really sucks…
Every superhero falls from the sky from time to time.
No matter how great their daily feats of strength, how amazing their public displays of courage, how astonishing the tales of their past glories, they all eventually find their Kryptonite; the weakness that brings them to their knees—and to their need.
Despite their superhuman trail of victories and accolades, all heroes inevitably reach that raw, vulnerable place just beyond their limits where strength fails and fear waits.
And from the lofty airspace they normally inhabit, the resulting impact can be brutal. Their bodies shatter the pavement below while all around the craning crowd watches; some gasping in horror, others leading the parade. When idols fall, fans weep and villains cheer in concert around the massive crater of failure.
Turns out it isn’t easy being so damn super all the time is it? That costume is costly.
I think you understand.
You too may daily don the mask and cape every morning. In your story you may fancy yourself the hero, the fixer, the rescuer; the brave, bold, and brilliant beacon of hope who shoulders the weight of humanity in peril, saving the day without garnering a scratch. In your epic story you’ve drawn yourself as the steady, unflappable, tireless crusader all the mortals call out to in their most desperate moments—and you always swoop in without fail to make it all right.
But that is merely fiction and pretty pictures, urban legends in colored spandex, day dreamy kid’s stuff fit for t-shirts and lunch boxes.
Friend, in the real story your flesh ain’t made of steel after all.
This place isn’t a green screened mirage, the bad guys aren’t shooting blanks, and you aren’t bulletproof. Maybe you’re starting to figure that out by the holes in your heart and the warm, scarlet puddle you’re presently laying in. Pain is a brilliant teacher that way.
Despite our most valiant efforts, some days we all realize that we just can’t save the world anymore.
Some days we need to come to our senses and come down to earth.
Some days we need to admit that it is we who need saving.
Welcome to the ground, friend—we’ve been expecting you.
You see, down here we know what the fall feels like because we too have briefly touched the rarefied air of the would-be hero, where glory and applause fuel you for a time. We know how intoxicating the adoration and approval of others becomes; how so many gladly press your uniform and send you back out into the bloody fray, and how willingly you go just to earn their temporary praises. We know well, how being seen as superhuman in the eyes of others is a peerless high you can’t stop chasing until you nearly run out of you; mid-flight and falling.
But here below on terra firma we also know that this is our true home. This gritty patch of ground is real life and these, our real identities upon it. Down here the heroes fail and bleed and eff it all up with great regularity. We’re all weak, imperfect, frightened frauds who daily seek greatness but more often reach mediocrity. We brandish courage and cowardice in equal measure.
The truth is down here we’re all a little less super, a little more human—and this is okay.
In fact it’s quite beautiful when you can bear to view your flaws in the full light of day without mask or body armor; better still when you can let others see them. The moments we find our comfortable place with no alter ego to conceal or shield us are the ones that are writing us a new story. Maybe it’s one you care to begin for yourself.
This may be the day you finally trade in the costume and the kudos and join the rest of us mortals here on the ground for a while. We hope it is because you can’t keep holding the planet up on your shoulders. They weren’t designed for that.
You’re tired and you could use the rest so take it. No one worth your time will mind at all. Those worthy of you won’t be concerned if you’re less than perfect so stop needing to be.
By not trying to save the world you might just save yourself; a noble cause indeed.
It’s okay not to fly sometimes. It really is.
Welcome to the ground, hero.