The Provacativity of Courage

I was introducing my 5 year old niece to Wonder Woman yesterday via the scene with her storming no man’s land between the trenches in WWII.

Niece, sat wearing her brother’s hand me down Hulk costume over her tutu and Minnie shirt, seeing Diana tossing bullets aside decided that maybe Wonder Woman was worthy of her time and asked if we could go back to the beginning and watch it.

It’s difficult to get anyone to compete with the strength and smashing of Hulk in my niece’s eyes so I was pretty chuffed she decided to consider the idea of my favourite super hero for the length of a film.

Both times, the 10 minute preview I gave the niece and our whole film later, as I watched Diana tell the men in the trenches that she needed to rescue the people and that sitting and waiting wasn’t good enough, then take off her trench coat and climb the ladder into the battlefield that no one dared cross and begin to charge and wack bullets aside…

I started choking up. Tears flooded hot to my eyes.

What’s even more embarrassing is if I try to explain to anyone why this is my favourite scene in any super hero movie. I will fully get choked on my words and barely be able to speak and 90% of the time real tears will start to erupt from my eyes.

Girl, get it together.

I might be one of the teariest people to watch a super hero film but there is something about my emotional response, that though heightened, I think others can relate to (just with less of a flood fest). I am just a mushy crier and it is what it is. Heart.On.My.Sleeve.Girl.Here.

Courage. Courage in the face of deep opposition and even death is moving. It reminds us of the important things in life. People. Life. Justice. Doing the right thing even with high cost. The gospel. There’s a story of two Dutch missionaries that sold themselves into a lifetime of slavery about 500 years ago in order to reach a particular group of people they would not otherwise be able to reach. That one chokes me up every time.

It’s the upside down way of thinking. Risking life and safety and comforts for the lives of others isn’t normal. There is something in our gut that knows that though not normal, it is what is needed, it is a deep truth of life, “the deep magic,” like Aslan tells Lucy in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Aslan sacrificing himself for the life of selfish Edmond, it’s upside down, but it is how the world works at it’s best. It’s Jesus, God, stepping into humanity and dying for us, as wicked and selfish as we are, to make us clean and to be our great substitute. The deep truths of life.

Diana, charging the Nazi’s and taking bullet’s when all of the men were immobilized with fear and unable to move forward in order to rescue a peasant village and make way for the armies behind her also reminds me that every day there are people I link arms with who are challenging injustice in the work I do in immigration advocacy, because they have been gripped by a story. They know someone caught up in our broken system and knowing a story opened their eyes to understanding our broken immigration system and so through exhaustion they fight to see change in what feels like nothing but an uphill battle. I think of the ministries on the border welcoming and caring for asylum seekers at great cost when voices in our country want to demonize them and drive fear into people. I think of William Wilberforce who worked himself sick to see the abolishment of the slave trade for half his career, persevering through 14 years of opposition and his own opioid addiction.

My niece is too cool for me. She doesn’t get my tears but hopefully as she grows and loves these superheroes it will lead her to want to fight for justice in this world. There are things that really matter and sometimes it’s the images of courage that move us that remind us of what those are.

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