On Sunday we went as a family to the movies to see Spiderman: Far From Home. It did an excellent job addressing the navigation of Tom Holland’s Spiderman with his normal life on a class trip to Europe. He is drawn into a conflict that has ramifications when Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio forces him to face down illusions and embrace who he is.
We see Holland’s character juggle both lives, often denying his responsibility to save the world until he can deny it no longer. He tells Zendaya’s Mary Jane Watson that he is actually Spiderman and they come to an understanding with a new level of relationship.
Fear is the bottom line of the movie. Mysterio is angry with not getting credit for his work. He’s willing to damage property and take lives to be the hero and get recognition and is done being passed over. Holland’s character doesn’t feel worthy to step up and embrace his abilities. He says, more than once, he just wants a normal life. He wants to return to his class trip and his love interest. We hear that his spider sense is not working right and, when he finally trusts it and himself again, he saves the world.
It is easier to doubt ourselves. It is easier to sit in our darkness and not take a risk. It is way easier to not move forward. It is easier to get hung up in injustice and take out our resentment on those around us (see every recent superhero movie).
I’ve written before on here how our son Carter deals with anxiety. He worries about small and large things. The small things grow and linger. If he’s resting, he’ll eventually need to get up and move around. The idle mind creates demons.
The hard concept to reconcile is this: you need to do it yourself.
I grew up believing that if I was good enough, good things would happen and all would work out. I grew up optimistic in the infallibility of people, that they were genuinely good and had my best interests at heart. I believed relationships were forever, family never changed and time would turn into some continuous Hallmark movie. In the Third Act, conflicts would resolve and peace would descend across the land.
The truth is, moments of peace are fleeting. People are imperfect. Family changes. Relationships, without effort, will wither on the vine. Conflict is reality. Disappointments happen in our human imperfections. There is no guaranteed break, no assured down time.
There is no finish line.
There is only a start and it depends on you, the ball of mess that makes up your identity. Every memory, every moment, every good and bad word ever exchanged. The dreams and nightmares, the power and the glory. Every instant you bowed your head and felt defeat. The joy of small and large victories.
The noise and crashing waves combine to make your soul unique. The abstract painting of divine destiny is more massive than you can imagine. It waits for the first step.
A step only you can take. Alone. In the still, small moments of silence.
The first time you pick your head up, put down the addiction, send the text message or make the phone call. The handshake, the job application, the new business website. The hug of a child. Facing your past and putting it to the fire to be burnt as fuel, an ignition. The first time you feel how deep the scars run and you understand.
For faith is a connection, a shaft of light in the darkness, an understanding. It is conviction. And conviction has more than one meaning.
Conviction knows guilt and that, with time, it will fade. It understands that dreams bigger and wider than you could image await you on the other side.
Until then, keep fighting.