Make the word small…

The world is just too big Mom” – Clark Kent  “Then make is small, Clark” – Martha Kent, Man of Steel

A month ago, the new Superman movie, Man of Steel, released.  Back then I wrote about much of the Christian theology present in the film due to already being present in the mythology of the Last Son of Krypton before the creative team made decisions on the film itself.  Since then, it’s not all the symbolism of the film that’s been coming to mind, or the Superpowers or awesome feats, but the worn shoe-sole practicality that this film presents the viewer without realizing it’s doing it.  It’s true that Superman is big and large scale in the sense of how he is presented as a hero and what he sets out to do.  His father, Jor-El makes plain that “you will give them something to strive for, they will run after you, they will stumble, they will fall, but in time they will join you in the sun” – that’s some role.  And he goes on to save the planet from the maniacal General Zod – who in a wonderful nod and twist of plot kneels before Kal this time.

All that as prologue, there is a moment in the film when Clark is first discovering his powers as an elementary school kid in class and they terrify him so that he runs and locks himself into a closet only drawn out by the voice of his mother.  The world in that moment is too much; it is too big for him, so his Mom tells him to make it small, to focus just on her – the one across the closed door from him.  So often when we consider Superman or another hero, we want to emulate them; not their alter ego.  We want to be The Flash, and not Barry Allen or Wally West.  We want to be Green Lantern and not Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Kyle Raynor, or Alan Scott.  We don’t want to be Steve Rogers, but we want that vibranium shield.  We might want to be Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne, but that’s because of the money and life-style; but rarely consider that those men endured so much loss and pain to become who they were and we DON’T want that part of it.  We want to be Kal-El, but never Clark Kent.

We want to do the big stuff but not bother with the small stuff.  We’d rather save the world or impact the globe in some way instead of the life across the table from us.  We’d rather do the big thing because in a way it’s actually easier, it’s more visible and on stage…and we’re vain beings wanting our own glory.   Big things don’t carry the same dangers, don’t always require time or entail risk.  It’s easier to write a check than it is to risk relationship.  If you want to affect the life across the table you’ve got work to do, a relationship to build and that can get messy; community always is – ask my friend Heather Zempel.  If you want to make the world small, start with lollipops.

Charles Xavier did it best, because he was the Professor; he taught his students, was involved in their lives and development – they were his family first and (some of them) X-Men second.  he made the world small by affecting the lives across the desk from him.

Go be Clark, and leave being Superman to the only One who can. But even if you could be the Man of Tomorrow, know that without the mild-mannered reporter he’s less than what he could be.

How do you make the world small?

Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

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