Captain America


Captain America


What does this image evoke in you?


  • Fighting trash?
  • A faded superhero down for the count?
  • Making America great again?


I rode by this Captain America shield/trash can situation yesterday morning—the last day of the pulverizing year, 2020, and thought, Perfect. Yeah, that fits. I also thought of the word, “juxtaposition.” After I’d written the chapter by that title in The Little Love That Could, I felt like I wanted to write an entire book about juxtaposition. I didn’t write the book. I’ve just observed lots and lots of juxtaposition since then.


More thoughts came: The Tedx Talk from a while back given by much-less-known Glennon Doyle (then Glennon Doyle Melton or GDM). GDM spoke about superhero capes. I loved this particular talk because of the message—for sure—but also because of her nerves and her nerve. She was slightly less polished back then and I found her vulnerability not only endearing but powerful. Her weakness was her strength, which brought to mind the *2 Corinthians scripture about God’s very own power bursting through our weakness—via our raw, our a-little-less-polished, maybe even our shameful, garbage-y frailty.


–and then because of that resting superhero shield, I thought of the *Ephesians passage about putting on the whole armor of God to fight the devil’s schemes, specifically about that shield of faith to combat “Satan’s flaming arrows.”


Some might throw out that scripture simply because they do not believe there is a devil or Satan. They hear the word Satan and they think it’s a silly notion and see Dana Carvey twisting his mouth and asking, “Is it Satan?” Others have no faith in God or a creator, but they can’t deny there is evil in the world. They’ve seen plenty of it in 2020 alone. Or maybe they watched a movie about paranormal activity once, and it creeped them out so much they couldn’t sleep that night. They can’t deny that. Personally, I don’t get how you can accept the reality of evil and a source of that evil but not the opposite.


Whether you call it evil or just life doing what life does, 2020 has given us a swift beating, and our collective, dented shield might be resting against a garbage can. It might be worth noting if our shield is actually made of garbage can.


Oh, and the CliffsNotes from the “Juxtaposition” chapter? “This life is both exquisite beauty and excruciating pain. Expect nothing less. Accept all.”


As you might be able to tell, in the time it took for me to get off my bike and snap the picture, my over-thinking head was filled with backstory, with subtext, with meaning.


What does–if anything–it mean to you?


What’s your 2021 shield made of?