September 28, 2011

the secret life

"love is not a feeling. it's an ability." marty, "dan in real life"

ever since i was a little girl i have always wanted to be a superhero. while most little girls dreamed of being kimberly, the pink power ranger, i had much bigger aspirations and tried to model my life after raphael, the teenage mutant ninja turtle. and after spending almost every saturday morning with the turtles and captain planet, i truly wanted to make a difference in the world.

as i got older, my interest moved from playing the role of the rescuer to totally owning the role of the rescued. lois lane captivated my complete envy and admiration, and i wanted to be saved by superman with every fiber of my tiny being. so that being said, i would create desperate situations as a 6-year-old, which would result in a heroic rescuing. before i became an effective swimmer, i distinctly remember paddling to the deep end of the pool in a little, inflatable raft and dramatically throwing my body into the water right in front of an older, handsome boy, completely trusting that his dashing good looks and floaties would somehow preserve my life.

but my favorite characteristic of superheroes was the enigmatic mystery of their secret life. i was always amazed at how they were able to keep their identities a conundrum to the common man and that even their best friends were unaware of their incredible abilities. i admired that they chose their actions because they were right even when the choice was difficult or disagreeable. and what i adored the most was that they never sought credit or acted out of selfish ambition but loved in the absence of recognition.

and their secret life makes me think of my own life and makes me question the intentions and motives behind my actions. as human beings, none of us tend to be too qualified in keeping quiet or keeping secrets. when we do good things, it is so easy to try to ensure that others see them and notice them in order to think that we are good people. we want our love to be seen and acknowledged in order to establish our own personal status of holiness. almost every action of our lives is designed for either a facebook album or status, and i wonder how many of our good decisions are inspired by the recognition and attention that they will give us in return.

we are people who seem to no longer pray in secret but want to appear to everyone else that we communicate with GOD every day. we are walking, whitewashed tombs, appearing so flawless and together outwardly but decaying within. we choose to love either those who will love us in return or those whom it will be most beneficial and admirable to love. we have created our own definitions and measures of spirituality based on the deeds that we see, despite our left hand's need to remain in a state of oblivion.

but i wonder what would happen if we began to view love as a super-heroic ability to be done in secret without recognition. what if every action we took was never to be noticed by anyone else? what if we loved without ever disclosing our identities? what if the good things others heard about us were to only come from the lips of other people instead of our own? what if every deed we did was solely to uphold righteousness? what if we prayed in the closet and loved in secret at the risk of being a little less spiritual? what if we truly loved our enemies or those who wouldn't love us in return?

therefore my new ambition starting today is to be the peter parker, the bruce wayne, the clark kent, the steve rogers, the tony stark of love. to treat the act of loving like a super-heroic ability to be done without notice or attachment of my good name. to keep abilities and potential securely fastened underneath an ironed, buttoned-up shirt and to wear a nerdy pair of glasses to throw people off.

to love without agenda and without intent of recognition or praise. to love regardless of feeling and to love everyone with the same amount of significance. to love regardless of what someone has done or hasn't done for me in return. and to love those who will never be able to return it.

to love without expectation and with no hope of reciprocation. to treat everyone the way that i would like to be treated without demanding the same treatment in return. to love righteously. to love equally. to love wholeheartedly.

to be an enigma. to pray in the closet. to love in the dark. to no longer live life as a whitewashed tomb. to act without fear or inhibition. to love regardless of spirituality or feigned holiness.

to live the secret life.

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