The Source of My Power
All week I’ve been making the case that writing is a superpower. I’ve supported that claim by showing how the ability to write has given me—and can also give you—opportunities to succeed in school and in the working world. The danger of recounting my career history and citing it as evidence of a “superpower” at work is that it can easily sound like I’m bragging. I’m not.
While my story includes its share of unique opportunities and career successes, I have not yet written the great American novel or New York Times best-seller. I am neither rich nor famous. I am not implying that the ability to write is, by itself, an automatic guarantee of success in life. I am merely making the case that if you can write, you will always have opportunities to use that skill to help yourself and others.
The thing about superpowers is that they are all dependent on a source. The source of Superman’s near-invincibility is our solar system’s yellow sun. The source of Spider-man’s amazing abilities is the radioactive spider bite he received. The source of the X-Men’s wide array of powers is their possession of a mutated gene.
It is interesting to note that every one of these comics feature story lines in which the heroes are in danger of losing their superpowers in some way. Just survey the recent spate of superhero movies to see this: Superman Returns, Spider-man 2, Fantastic 4, and nearly all the X-Men movies wrestle with what happens to superheroes when they lose the source of their superpowers.
Like other superpowers, writing is also dependent on a source. Great writing is a skill that can be learned, but it’s worthless unless the writer has something worth saying. The Greeks believed that great writing came from patron goddesses known as the Muses. Later writers have spoken of the need for “inspiration.”
The uninspired writer is a pitiful wretch plagued by such torments as “writer’s block” and the terrifying blank page. The writer who finds his inspiration finds joy in the exercise of his superpower, and bystanders marvel at the wonders he accomplishes. Take away a writer’s inspiration, and he becomes as powerless as Superman in the presence of kryptonite.
My source of inspiration is my relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. I recently wrote about how that relationship began and what it means to me over at the Feet to Follow blog. That relationship is the lens through which I see the world. Its stamp is on everything I write—even the simple family anecdotes or trivial observations which are not explicitly “religious.”
So if at any point these autobiographical reflections and this extended “superpower” metaphor start to sound boastful, remember that I am well aware of the source of my superpower, and without Him I can do nothing.
I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. (John 15:5 HCSB)