It took 75 years to make a movie about a female superhero motivated purely by love.
This past week I came close to abdicating my Super Power. But then I experienced the heart’s capacity for infinite heartbreak. In a single weekend. Which moved like a decade inside. Family legacy spilling from past to present, contaminating generations to come.
So that by Sunday evening, having survived the gauntlet from Despair to Compassion (and each of the death stages in between), I surrendered to what I could and could not do, and resumed my seat in the center of my purpose and watched from the back row until the credits rolled and the soundtrack shifted and the viewers rose to leave, one by one, two by two…
As each passed, I noticed the embodiment of limitation. The absence of yoga or love or belonging.
“I lost track of something,” she said. I looked up to see an elderly woman beside my seat, her arms holding an empty popcorn container, a soda cup, a purse. “When did she lose the boyfriend?” she asked.
The plane, remember? I smiled.
“Oh, yes,” she said, “Thank you.”
I wondered what made her lean in toward me, and then I remembered the man in the tea aisle, at the Co-op, leaning against his shopping cart, his face ashen, his breath burdened, his clothes hanging.
“Do you need help?” I asked.
No, he said, It’s not here. It’s something they used to carry.
“Maybe I could look too,” I said. And then my husband arrived from the other end of the aisle and all three of us looked, but the man was the one to find it himself, and I cheered, and he said:
It’s because of your presence.
“My mother was like that,” I told him. “She could help me find things just by being there.” (Even on the phone. Even continents away. Even now, 17 years later. Lung cancer.)
Breath Easy. tea.
This was the single item in his cart, and my heart ripped a little as we parted ways.
The house lights went up, and a much younger man passed by, one with a very short gait which revealed the trust stolen from his childhood, and then moments later, he returned, and headed back down toward the front of the theater, searching for something between the seats.
A full-bodied woman in a red dress stood up and joined him, as did two guys from another row.
A small chorus of cheers soon erupted.
“What did you find,” I asked, as he passed my seat a third time.
My phone, he said, shyly.
He didn’t wait for my smile.
I stayed put. I needed to wait until the very end of the credits to digest. My appetite for violence taken when I became a mother; exponentially so after Columbine; and then absolutely so after a second baby, born in the raw, at home. I almost left half-way through the film. “I can’t take it anymore,” I said to my husband.
Instead, I put up my hood, and slunk down in my seat, and wept, as She—in ferocious (and perhaps hopeless) protection of the vulnerable—crossed the battlefield–once more–alone.