Thursday, June 5, 2014

Something to Struggle With

"[God] is the best writer, too," Gabriel said to me.
"Why's that?" I asked.
"Because he gives every good writer something to struggle with and try to work out by writing down. That's genius."

- John Corey Whaley, in Where Things Come Back

Mike McCune
When I was little, I used to pray for a tornado to suck up my house. We lived in Minnesota and things like that happen there. I couldn't believe it when my friend, Dawn Thompson, had the roof sucked off her house, while mine-- miles away-- was left untouched. Had she been praying for the same thing?  Because if not, that was totally unfair.

I also dreamed of becoming a writer.  I composed poems in my head as I dawdled along Hamline Avenue, late for school. I told myself tragic stories about parents abandoning their children as I tossed newspapers between screen doors in the fading sunlight. I devoured every book I deemed worth reading in the school library, and dreamed of the day my own name would be shelved alongside names like Madeline L' Engle and JRR Tolkien.

Sam Howzit
One thing I knew for certain was that no one could become an author without living an interesting life. Otherwise, where would the stories come from?  So I prayed for a tornado. Or a kidnapping. Or a meteor crashing through my roof. Anything exciting to pay my passage into the world of authors.

I don't know how many nights I spent in tears on my knees begging God to not let me have a boring life.
So maybe what happened was my own fault.
Because one thing is certain.
God was listening.

But really-- is anyone's life boring?

I noticed a shocking thing in the Bible the other day, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head ever since.  Brace yourself.

Jesus had a hard life.

Artist Del Parsons
Yes. I've read the Bible before. I'm a Mormon, and a Christian, and I've read it multiple times. (Well, ok. Not Leviticus. I skimmed that particular book once and moved on.)  And I knew Jesus had a hard life, but I guess I'd always thought it was because He's the Savior and had to do hard things to save us. But the other day it occurred to me that the Atonement was what came at the end of His life, and being a God, He could have set up the world however He wanted, including so that things could have been full of preaching to happy followers, converting missionaries who would sing rousing songs and march out to convert the world. Love, Peace and Harmony.  And then, at the end of a glorious life of good will to men, He could have performed the Atonement to save us all and risen triumphant into heaven.

But He didn't.
He had a hard life.
And so has everyone else who has ever lived on this earth.
And for the first time, the pattern that was obvious all along sunk in. Hard lives serve a purpose. For everyone. Good people and bad. Nice people and mean. People who mess up their own lives with addictions and little girls who pray for tornados. Even, apparently, perfect people.

Hard lives serve a purpose.

And since not everyone becomes authors, the purpose is apparently something beyond giving us something to write about.  Although that doesn't hurt.

And since I truly believe that God's purposes are good and kind and not intended to make us miserable, I have to assume that the purpose in life being hard is also good and kind.

My son recently read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, and I recently heard an amazing talk (sermon) called Grateful in Any Circumstance, by Dieter F. Uchtdorf-- both of which share a similar idea. We have reasons to be "filled with gratitude" no matter what our circumstances are. It's not about being grateful for something. It's about being grateful in our circumstances. Whatever those are.

Because really, whatever our circumstances are, unless we are actively screwing up our lives ourselves (something I am certain is possible, but generally try to avoid), God put us here. And it might look like hell from where we are standing, but somehow hard lives serve a purpose. For everyone. A purpose that in the end has to be good and kind.

I don't have answers for why girls in Africa get kidnapped, or babies are born addicted to crack, or college students who are going about their day trying to pass exams get shot.  I know it looks like hell. I know it feels like hell. I also know the Atonement is real and I've felt its inexplicable healing power in my own life. It's personal. And it's real.

My house never got sucked up by a tornado. But lots of other stuff did happen. And sometimes I feel the Atonement and am nearly overwhelmed with gratitude for the stuff God gave me to struggle with and try to work out by writing down.

That's genius.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Holding Hands

A friend said recently that he could understand my wanting someone's hand to hold as I sit in church.  I've thought a lot about the truths and lesser lies in that statement, and I'd like to share what I really want.

Tim Parkinson on Flickr
Tonight my daughter came to me, asking again if she can go to camp this summer. I've been actively avoiding this topic for months.  I said no when it first came up. No, you can't go. No, don't ask me again. And then I doubted myself.  Maybe she should go... maybe she's matured enough, recovered enough, strong enough...  Maybe this will be an opportunity for her to make friends, to start sprouting those wings of independence she'll need in a few years when she leaves home. Maybe she's strong enough.  But maybe she's not.

Three years ago she went to camp, and it didn't go well. "It didn't go well," meaning a few stolen knives, several broken down doors and one psychiatric hospital later she was still trying to recover. And that was with a dedicated camp counselor assigned only to her.  To say it was traumatic for everyone involved would be a gross under exaggeration.

But she's doing better. Shockingly, miraculously better. She's wanting to make friends, trying to understand people and humor and friendship, noticing other's emotions and showing empathy.  All things I was told, once upon a time years ago, she would never be able to do.

Nicolas Raymond on Flickr
So I question myself.  I look at the camp papers, hear her talk excitedly about the fun activities the girls will be doing, and what I want-- what I desperately yearn for-- is a partner in this crazy ride we call life.

I want to sit up together at night, after the kids are in bed, and say, "What do you think?  How is she doing?  Is she ready for a few nights in a row away from the security of home?"  I want someone else who loves her and knows her and cares about her to talk with me about the pros and cons, to weigh the consequences, and to share the burden of making a decision about something that should be so straight-forward, but is about as clear to me as how to fix Social Security.

At the same time as the camp decision, I'm starting a new job and trying to stretch myself like Elasti-Girl to accommodate one more necessity. Fitting in twenty hours a week should be easy-- another straight-forward issue-- like resolving the national debt.  I'm also working on a really great project with my older daughter, making a book about my mom and her childhood. While I love the project, I wasn't prepared for how facing the reality of my mom getting older would shock me like tripping over a tombstone in the dark.

Aimee Heart on Flickr
In all of this, I want a partner. When I lie down at night I want to feel that while mortality involves death creeping ever closer and children who need more than I know how to give, it also involves having someone with me to brave the storms, solve the puzzles, and touch toes with under the covers.  I want someone to put his arms around me at night and tell me I'm doing a pretty good job and it will be ok.

I don't want someone's hand to hold in church. I want someone to hold my hand in life.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

This is Rabat

I'm writing from Morocco, from the capital city of Rabat. This is where I attended and graduated from high school, where I became aware of international politics, where I discovered chocolate crepes and brochettes (grilled, spiced shish kabobs), where I learned dressage and vaulting, French and a few words of Arabic. Where I made friends and where I grew up. Being here has brought back a lot of memories of people, sights, sounds and smells. I'll write part two of my Moroccan travels later. Tonight, I want to give you a feel for Rabat. 

This is Rabat

The dusty smell of the air, like honey and wood smoke mingled together.
The occasional waft of tobacco or the acrid stench of urine.
The rattle of petit taxis. 

The forceful onslaught of Arabic. 
Al Humdu Allah!
Bartering women and merchants.
Kaftans and djlabas, oncoming traffic, 
cats scurrying beneath stairs.
The touch of a breeze at sunset, exactly the temperature of skin.
Piles of trash. 
Brochettes grilling at the entrance to the medina.
Hibiscus and palm trees. 
Epiceries with fruit, cheap chocolate behind glass, juice in cartons, and boxes piled to the ceiling.

Couscous, small and pliable, spilling on the floor.
Vegetable and meat tagines. 
Fresh squeezed orange juice. La jus d’orange presser.
Patisseries. Almond cookies, chocolate cookies, pistachio cookies.
Parlez vous Francais?
Oui. Oui.  

Bonjour, Madame.
Leather poufs, polished wood, brass lamps and stacks and stacks of rugs.
For you good price! Come look!
Polished stone, silver and amber.
Durhams. Fifty, one hundred, a thousand. Coins and crumpled bills.  

Croissants and crepes.
The press of the sidewalk on throbbing feet.
Beep Beep Beep of car horns at green lights.
Fine red dust powdering the cracks of the sidewalks.  

Arabic stop signs.
Kisses on cheeks. Labess, Labess.  
Cafes and restaurants bustling at night.
Mint tea and Moroccan bread.

Men in little chairs on sidewalks, smoking and talking.
Women in scarves, jeans, kaftans, t-shirts, skirts, and leather.
Black hair, black eyes, henna and silk.

The dissonant rise and fall of Arabic music.

This is the city I love. This is Rabat.

The Moroccan flag flying above King Mohammed V's tomb

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Retro Shock, Springtime, and Stealing Lilacs

Peter informed me the other day that he would let all his kids get iPhones. And I laughed. When I told him his kids might not even know what an iPhone was he was incredulous. The conversation went something like this:

Peter: Why wouldn't they know what an iPhone is?
Me: Because they'll be old fashioned by the time you have kids.
Peter: You mean, like CDs are now?
Me: I mean like 8-track tapes are now. Or record players.
Peter: What's an 8-track tape?
Me: Exactly.

My kids don't all have iPhones, but I did get them Kindles recently and it was a good decision. Peter has been whipping through classics at about one a week, and even Naomi has been reading more, although she still prefers listening to her soon-to-be-outdated iPod.  I get my textbooks on my Kindle app and have been reading novels (when I have time to read novels) on the Kindle as well. Yesterday I saw the hardback copies of the books I just finished and was surprised at how thick they were. I'd thought they were short books.

When I was reading a hard copy, physical book recently, I swiped my finger up the page to scroll down and wondered why it didn't scroll. Later that day I stood in front of a door at a shopping mall and wondered if the mall was closed because the doors didn't open when I approached-- before I realized I had to pull them open myself.  In a public restroom my daughter said the sink wasn't working when she held her hand under the faucet and no water came out.  I recently watched my grandson (Yes! I have a grandson. And two granddaughters!) try to work a cell phone that wasn't touch screen. He concluded it was broken and went back to the iPad where he swiped it with his thumb, opened Netflix and scrolled down to find the Tigger Movie. He's two.

Sometimes it's not future shock that gets us so much as retro shock.

I jump in my Prius, push the start button, check the back-up camera, and as I drive away, push the phone button to make sure I didn't forget my iPhone which doubles as the back-up hard drive for my brain. And I wonder what it would be like to time travel back to living in the 1940s.

From Pintrest, of course
Something about spring makes me wish for a simpler life.  Green things sprout, flowers bloom and something inside me, perhaps a genetic memory from my ancestors, tells me to put on a sundress and straw hat and go plant vegetables and fruits.  Never mind that I have never successfully grown anything edible in my life and have trouble getting the grass out front to stay alive. When life is erupting from winter-dead branches anything seems possible.

And so I pick lilacs, old-fashioned flowers that feel like sundresses and lemonade, put them in a vase on the table and consider myself a gardener of fine lilacs. There is a poem I think of every spring as I struggle internally with the nearly overwhelming temptation to steal lilacs from strangers' bushes.  For 50 weeks out of every year I go about my life with no temptation to steal anything. And then the lilacs bloom.

Stealing Lilacs 
by Alice N. Persons

A guaranteed miracle,
it happens for two weeks each May,
this bounty of riches
where McMansion, trailer,
the humblest driveway
burst with color—pale lavender,
purple, darker plum—
and glorious scent.
This morning a battered station wagon
drew up on my street
and a very fat woman got out
and starting tearing branches 
from my neighbor's tall old lilac—
grabbing, snapping stems, heaving
armloads of purple sprays
into her beater.
A tangle of kids' arms and legs
writhed in the car.
I almost opened the screen door 
to say something,
but couldn't begrudge her theft,
or the impulse
to steal such beauty.
Just this once,
there is enough for everyone.

This year I looked outside and realized with a shock of joy that I have my very own lilac bush in the backyard.  I want to hang a sign on my fence saying, "Help yourself. There is enough for everyone." It feels so 1940s, but then, the world could use a little more retro.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

6 Things I've Learned from Being Sick

I've spent the past week on the couch with a box of tissues and not enough energy to make it to the bathroom without stopping to rest along the way. Mostly I've slept through this sickness, but when I've been awake and not coughing I've picked up a few little life lessons.

1-- Take a break before it gets this bad.
Pretending to be a Superhero who never needs a break

Slowing down is hard. ...ok... nearly impossible for some of us. It's so easy for me to look at my friends and know they need to take a break. They are Super Women, doing everything plus some.  It's a lot harder to admit that I, personally, actually need to take a break. That is, until I'm sprawled on the couch unable to move.  Saying no from time to time, taking a day off, deep breathing and classical music are all a lot easier to handle than a week out of commission. I'm certain a virus was involved in my past week, but I could have fought it off a lot better if I'd been rested.

This is a lesson I keep relearning and trying to apply. I hope I'll do better at it.

2-- My kids are a lot more capable than I give them credit for.

by mrgreen09 on Flickr
Not only can my kids cook meals, clean up the kitchen and supervise themselves pretty successfully, they are also kind, compassionate people who actually look pained to see me not feeling well.  I sometimes forget that they are growing up. There is something so wonderful about fading in and out of consciousness on the couch while watching my son and daughter laugh and be happy as they do the dishes together. And when they sit beside me and ask, "Is there anything I can do for you?" I want to say, "You already have. Thank you for being a kind and caring person."

3-- Flowers really do cheer me up.

There is a wreath of flowers hanging on my front door, on the inside where I can see it. It was on the outside, but the wind was threatening to blow it to Kansas so we brought it in about a week ago. The pink dogwood is a beautiful reminder of spring and of my home in Virginia. I've never really understood the point of sending flowers to sick people, but perhaps that's because I've never spent a week lying down with cheerful flowers in front of me. I'm going to make a bigger effort to send flowers more often, especially to friends who are sick. They cost so little and are so cheering. Small things can make a big difference.

4-- Listening to stories is as comforting at 45 as it was at 4.5.

I don't get headaches often, but this illness brought with it a whopper of a headache. Reading is my escape of choice, but it made my headache beyond unbearable. What I really wanted was someone to read to me. So I downloaded the audio version of the book I was reading, closed my eyes, and let someone read to me. It was wonderful. I faded out a few times and had to go back to figure out what was going on, but I also remembered that I used to read aloud to my kids all the time. Even my teens and college students. Reading aloud and being read to is magical and bonding. I'm going to bring this back into our lives by reading a chapter a night again like we used to do. Find a good book. Read to someone.

5-- Relax. The world keeps rotating even if I don't get everything done.
tonynetone on Flickr

There are deadlines, and then there are DEADLINES.  The latter are the kind we drag ourselves through even when we're sick. But the former are the things that felt important when we were well and that we realize actually don't matter when we are struggling to sit up.  And even the all-caps kinds of deadlines rarely involve life and death eternal consequences. So lighten up! Relax and take time to get well. The world will still be rotating when he sickness is past.

6-- Bodies heal themselves.

Human bodies are pretty miraculous that way.  For the most part, illness is temporary. Rest, drink lots of water, provide your body with some healthy food, and voila! The cough and headache go away. The vitality returns. And before you know it you have energy to think about laundry and papers and schedules again, and you'll be wishing you could have an excuse to collapse on the couch and listen to a good book.
Judit Klein on Flickr
Which brings us back to Number 1.  Take a break before it gets that bad.  Schedule time on the calendar for relaxation and consider it an appointment you have to keep.  =)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

This is 45 and Single. Again.

I recently read a blog post titled This is 45 by Emily Mendell. She did a beautiful job describing life in so many ways and inspired me to reflect on my own life.

And so my friends, this is 45 and single. Again.

45 and single again is the detour in life that catches you so off guard your head still spins when you stand back and look at it.  It's wondering where you went wrong while being amazed at all the ways you got things right. It's wishing you could do things over and being eternally grateful you actually can't.
by John Crossley, Flickr
45 and single again is realizing the emotional drama of your teen years passed in part not because you got older, but because you got married and left the dating pool. It's asking your teens for dating advice and putting on reading glasses to check responses to your online dating profile. It's listening with more compassion than you had a few years ago to your daughter's romance dilemmas and crying with her over broken hearts-- yours and hers. It's telling your kids as you walk out the door that you'll be home late and they don't need to wait up for you.  It's wondering what the person across the table would think of your son's long hair or your daughter's obsession with Taylor Swift while knowing that actually, you really don't care what they think.

by Mav, Flickr
When your 45 and single again you stumble over grocery shopping and meals. One less person to cook for throws everything off. Leftovers become regular meals as you gradually learn to buy less, cook less, serve less.  You make mistakes, cook too little and end up plunking a jar of peanut butter on the table so no one goes hungry. Then you realize the kids are just as happy with ramen and stop cooking meals all together. And then you vow to do better, to have family time around the table with real food-- but you know the food is only a small part of what's missing.

45 and single again is realizing you can have a life. And being shocked. You drive by the Scuba Certification place you've seen every day for years and suddenly realize you can sign up without having to justify your actions to anybody. So you pull over and sign up. Right then. It's realizing the world is so wide open there's a feeling of vertigo as the possibilities spill out before you.  And at the same time, it's feeling suffocated by options so limiting you might choke. It's having the wisdom to know that money doesn't fix everything, but the experience to understand that it can smooth a lot of rough edges in life. It's sitting down after you sign up for scuba classes and giving yourself a stern talking to about your own budget. And then loving the classes while wishing you had a husband to take them with you.

It's sitting in church, hearing that children need two parents, catching your child's eye and exchanging a sad smile of apology.

45 and single again is suddenly realizing there are a lot of single women in this world, and you are not alone-- in what you are experiencing or in the men you are trying to date. For every single man in this world there seem to be at least ten single women-- and most of them are more beautiful and accomplished that you ever have been or ever will be. It's consciously looking for the good parts of this new life as you realize you might be here a very long time.

When you're 45 and single again, your bed is a place of mixed emotions. At first you sleep in the same spot you always have, right by the nightstand and reading light. The other side of the bed feels awkward and empty and you avoid looking at it.  But gradually it starts to feel like unclaimed real estate. You inch your pillow over, spread out, feel the coolness of the sheets on the other side. Then one day you sleep in the middle, right on that almost imperceptible rise that used to separate two bodies. It's uncomfortable and you wake up disoriented, like sleeping at someone else's house. But over time it becomes yours exclusively-- this bed, these sheets, these pillows. And eventually it goes from being a place of emptiness to a place of solace.

Being 45 and single again is sleeping with the small bear your daughter gave you, to remind yourself that someone out there loves you.

45 and single again is getting back into the job market. Under duress.  It's putting together a résumé that says nothing about your real skills or who you are. There is no place to put Dedication to Those I Love, Even in the Wee Hours of the Morning or Expert Negotiating Skills From Years of Mediating Sibling Rivalry. You are reduced to filling out applications for part-time employment at wages your children wouldn't accept where the only qualifications are that you are a citizen and breathing. And then not getting hired. 45 and single again is an odd combination of being over-qualified and under-résuméd.

45 and single again is going back to college, finishing the degree you started before life took over. It's sitting in class next to kids younger your own offspring, struggling to memorize things your classmates pick up after one pass. It's wondering if your professor is single and hoping he's not younger than you. It's listening to a lecture on some aspect of life you understand all too well from years of experience, watching the professor struggle to explain it to these kids, and wanting to stand up and say, "Let me help you."

45 and single again is proof that time travel is possible. It's being whisked back to school and dating, backpacks and part-time jobs, living the life of a 20-something in the body of a 40-something, wishing the energy and excitement had come back along with the assignments and date nights. It's standing against the wall at a dance watching a stooped gentleman with grey hair shuffle toward you and ask you to dance while wondering if you remembered to submit your paper.

What 45 and Single Again Moms are supposed to be
Being 45 and single again is balancing motherhood and romance and school and work-- and never ever getting a break. It's being the only one to take out the trash, pick up milk, listen to the kids' sorrows, turn off the stove, fill out taxes, take the dog to the vet, pay the bills, vacuum, lock the front door, pick the kids up from school, or do anything else that needs to be done. It's being on the job 24/7 with absolutely no possibility of getting a break. It's keeping your cell phone on vibrate during the movie in case someone gets hurt and needs you. Right now.

What we actually are

45 and single again is worrying about your kids. Despite an abundance of evidence to the contrary, you fear your own mistakes will cause them to become homeless bums with an inability to form meaningful relationships. You watch them have crushes, date, fall in love and get married, and you replay your own life in your mind. Every prayer is for them to be happy and safe. Safe from accidents, from sickness, from heartbreak-- from life. And while you have the wisdom to understand that this is not only unrealistic but unhealthy, you pray for it anyway.

At 45 and single, you are less judgmental. After all, your own life just bit the dust in a major way. At the same time, you have less patience for things that mean nothing.  The preciousness of time is becoming increasingly clear and while it's not flying by as fast as it will at 80, the galloping pace is sometimes alarming. Trivial matters are pushed aside while seemingly small events-- like reading to your kids-- are cherished for the treasures they are.

by Tyler Nypen, Flickr
45 and single again is a pause in life-- a time to consider the whirlwind of young motherhood, the crashing reality of divorce, the painful rebuilding-- and to realize the person you have become is stronger and wiser for all the ditches you pulled yourself out of to get here. It's looking back and looking forward and seeing that you stand at a pivotal moment, a time to redefine your identity. 45 and single again may be the very definition of a mid-life crisis, but it's also the mid-life launching off point. Scuba classes, college, dating and children are the pieces you pull together and arrange on the floor in your room, like a giant jigsaw puzzle, rearranging and refitting into Your Life, Part 2.

This is 45 and Single Again. This is me.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Waiting for Superman

A friend whose opinion I value recently expressed that he's tired of girl power stories.  To be honest, I hadn't noticed that they were prolific. But after he mentioned it, I took a look at my favorite books and movies and saw a definite trend.  Girls are standing up for themselves all over the place. Even defeating bad guys without the help of a man. (Shocking. I know.)

And it doesn't bother me. In fact, it makes me very, very happy.

For a blog post about abuses of girl power, click here:
His concern, if I understand correctly, is that these stories are saying women don't need men. Although he didn't put it in this many words, I gathered that he fears these stories are contributing to the breakdown of the family and trends toward single motherhood and the feeling that fathers- and men in general- are expendable.  Perhaps even hatred and abuse of men.

These aren't the messages I'm getting at all.  I see the proliferation of girls power stories as a backlash against thousands of years of women being told they can't survive without men, that they are weak, incompetent, and should submit to whatever men want-- even if that means abuse. I see the swords and strength as representations of girls taking charge of their own lives and refusing to be abused any longer.

Let's look at Frozen-- Disney's retelling of The Snow Queen, by Hans Christian Anderson. (Hans, Kristoff, Anna, Sven. Get it?  Thanks to Bethany for pointing out where their names probably came from.  Not sure what's up with Elsa.)

Spoiler Alert!!!
If you haven't watched the movie and want to be surprised- read no further. Until after you see it, of course.  Then hustle back on over here and finish reading.  =)

I love this story for several reasons. First off-- the marriage proposal that happens toward the beginning between Anna and Hans is so classic Disney, and so absurd.  They meet, they hit it off, sing a song together, and get engaged. That same day. Ridiculous, right?  Except that... I did pretty much the same thing at age 18. I met a guy, we hit it off, and within two weeks, we were engaged. Not quite in one day-- but close enough. And like Hans, the guy I married turned out to be the bad guy. ("Oh Anna. If only there was someone who loved you.") This part of Frozen felt real to me-- bad guys posing as good guys, sweeping girls off their feet only to drop them on their butts in the snow when they don't get what they want.

On the other hand, I really, really like Kristoff.  He's not perfect, unlike Hans who appears perfect at first. He works for a living, has a very strange "family," and is appropriately shocked that Anna got engaged to a guy she just met that day. Even better-- he's honest with her about how shocked he is. He calls her out for being an idiot. Not in a rude way, just in a down-to-earth, you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me way.  He sticks with her when she asks him to do seemingly irrational things. (A trait that makes me, personally, swoon. Not that I would ever do anything that seems irrational.)  And when she's better than him at some things (not at everything), he's not offended, showing that his own feeling of self-worth is not so tenuous as to be knocked over by a girl's competence.

Finally, the act of true love rings true for the first time in a Disney movie ever. It wasn't a kiss-- which as we all know can be faked. It wasn't even romantic love-- which can be true love, but can also be fueled by passion like gasoline and burn out quickly. This was a sister's love for her sister. Something that had been growing in harsh conditions for years. A love that had been tried in storms and still held true. And the act was not something Anna needed someone else to do to her. It was something she did. It was her own love for her sister that saved her, saved her sister, and saved the entire kingdom.

Which sends the message...

We don't need to wait for someone else to come and bail us out. We can make a difference by loving those around us. Even our own family members. Even when they have been pushing us away out of fear, even when they have hurt us. Selfless sacrifice and love can save the day. Even if you're a girl.

Does this mean girls don't need guys?  Not at all. But maybe we don't need them to save us. Maybe we are strong enough to make a difference on our own. Powerful enough to fight for what we need-- sometimes with a sword, sometimes with selfless acts of love. Whichever it takes.

So what about Superman?

I don't know a single girl who doesn't want to be swept off her feet by a powerful, kind man who will protect her and love her to the end. Even when we're being irrational.  Even when we act tough and say we don't need a man in our lives. Whether we cry when the bad guys show up or pull out our swords and jump into the battle. Or do both. We're all waiting for Superman.

Heaven knows, the world needs more super men.

But while we wait, we can pick ourselves up after abusive or failed relationships, dust the snow off our butts, grab a sword and make the world a better place.

Waiting for Superman, by Daughtry