Do you take flying leaps fearlessly? Have the ability to see through walls? Stop bullets with your amazing bracelets?
Yeah, me neither.
My superpowers tend to be much less exciting. Granted, I have quite a few, as I imagine you do, too. If we didn’t have some of these less-than-spectacular superpowers, then there likely wouldn’t be so many memes about them.
Even so, there are those who truly have abilities that rank up there with real-world superpowers. I had the privilege of doing a ride along with an officer with the Hurst Police Department. She was incredibly patient with me and my questions as we set out for patrol on recent evening. I primarily wanted to learn more about our community and the challenges our neighbors face and imagined our police department has an insight most of us don’t have.
We answered three calls and made one traffic stop in the few hours I spent with her. Even as she took me through some of the places where they were often called in, she repeatedly affirmed that the people in our community were good people. Yes, drugs were a problem. Yes, alcohol was a problem. Yes, poor decisions, a lack of effective coping skills, and limited opportunities were also problems. Many of them, she repeated, are doing the best they can.
The last call, late in the evening, was a domestic dispute. Two other officers responded as well. While things did get heated for a time, no one was injured or arrested. After the situation calmed down, the officers remained outside the home, near the street, in case things heated back up. The front door opened, and the female resident stuck her head out the door, spewing a barrage of profane insults at the officers. The male resident managed to get her back inside, calm her down. Soon, the lights went out and the officers returned to their vehicles.
As we were driving away, she walked me through their encounter (I had stayed across the street, on the other side of her police vehicle). She talked about how she had learned to read situations, to ask questions, to be aware of body language. She shared the importance of focusing on the circumstances and seeking avenues to resolve encounters as peacefully as possible. She was unfazed by the name-calling and insults.
Pretty impressive superpowers, right?
If you think about it, every time they respond to a call or, they walk into uncertainty. Their goal is to render aid and restore peace, to ensure the safety of those present, including themselves. Our calling, as followers of Christ, is to respond faithfully to God, to go where God sends us and offer love, grace, mercy, and compassion. We are called to a ministry of reconciliation, of bringing people to wholeness and restoring relationships.
My prayer is that we will trust fully in God’s leading as we step into uncertainty, that we will pause and take in our surroundings, noticing all that God is seeking to show us. I’m pretty sure I saw Jesus in the neighborhood. I really look forward to us being fully present with Jesus in the places and with the people Jesus loves so dearly as we make love our defining superpower.