I was very young at the time, and it's funny how those moments you forget so easily come back so strong at the slightest reminder isn't it? You think you have them buried and then a song, a smell, or a familiar sight exhumes those long forgotten moments of time and everything is real again.
I am really not sure why my dad loaded my brother and I up in our family station wagon and drove the 45 minute drive to the mall in Logansport Indiana on the day that he did, not because we did not take trips as kids, but because of the destination of this particular trip. This trip was going to be a trip that really shaped my life in a large way.
We arrived at my very first ever Comic Book show. My dad was not a "Comic book" guy but he knew that his kids were "Comic book" kids.
As far as my eyes could see there were long white boxes on top of and underneath tables all down the length of the shopping mall atrium. I knew very little about comic books back then, but I knew deep down inside that this was a limitation that I was going to soon change.
Everywhere I looked I saw posters of brightly colored people doing impressive things like throwing cars, flying and fighting explosive battles; I also saw a few posters of not so well clothed people doing other things. It was a strange collage of artists and geeks. People dressed funny and looked even funnier. I was soaking everything in when there under one of the tables I saw a beat up and dirty long white box with a hastily scrawled out sign on the outside.
"Comic books... 5 for 25¢ "
I nearly fainted because when your dad gives you and your brother $20.00 to start your first comic book collection, this is a sign that can start your collection off large!!!
It was all over for me after my brother and I lugged a few white boxes out of the mall that afternoon. It took us weeks to read through all of those books and I have to say that I learned how to read very well because of it. I would look at the pictures and ask myself, "What is this guy saying that makes the other one so mad?" I did not understand so much of what I read, but I knew that I wanted to.
This past Saturday was "National Free Comic Book Day". I stood outside of the local comic book shop here, Fortress of Solitude Comics, and I looked down at my young son and I asked him, "You ready to see what they got buddy?"
He nodded happily and we quickly entered.
It's funny how those moments you forget so easily come back so strong at the slightest reminder isn't it? You think you have them buried and then a song, a smell, or a familiar sight exhumes those long forgotten moments of time and everything is real again.
We made our way to tables that were filled with the long white boxes and the smell of old newsprint hit my nose and memories of that time with my brother and my dad came back.
Since that day as a kid until now, I have acquired a pretty large comic book collection and I enjoy it quite a bit. It's my "thing". I don't follow sports or hunt but this is something that I found that I identified with pretty well.
I bought several books this last week and I wanted to share some thoughts with you about one that stood out very strongly to me, so just for a moment, pretend that you and I are looking through old comic book boxes and this is one I would show you that caught my attention.
Marvel Comics introduced a run of comic books called the "What Ifs?". These were stories that asked the question "What if" and placed the characters in their marvel universe at the imaginations of the story writers.
This one stood out to me on this past Saturday. "What if Uncle Ben had lived?"
In case you are not a Spiderman fan or familiar with his story, here is the short version.
Spider-Man is a fictional character, a comic book superhero that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko, he first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (cover-dated Aug. 1962). Lee and Ditko conceived the character as an orphan being raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, and as a teenager, having to deal with the normal struggles of adolescence in addition to those of a costumed crime fighter. Spider-Man's creators gave him super strength and agility, the ability to cling to most surfaces, shoot spider-webs using wrist-mounted devices of his own invention (which he called "web-shooters"), and react to danger quickly with his "spider-sense", enabling him to combat his foes.
One night, his Uncle Ben is killed by a robber that Peter Parker chose not to stop earlier in the evening and when Peter arrived home he discovered that the results of his actions played a large role in the outcomes of the future. He dedicated his life to fighting crime on the night of his uncles murder and resolved that "With great power comes great responsibility".
So the question asked was, "What if Peter's uncle had never died?" How would this change his life?
I saw this cover and I immediately asked the two questions of myself that I am asking you now
What single event or series of events have cause you the most amount of pain in your life?
Would you change them in light of who you have become because of those events?
At first thought, most of us would readily accept the opportunity to change a heartbreak wouldn't we? I mean, those are the kinds of things that bury a person in shame or trap them in a prison of the heart and mind right?
I would like to submit that while there are moments in the measure of my life's song that I would never want to repeat again, I do know that I would not be the musical score I am without them.
Those are the events that shape us into the individuals that we are and they mold and fashion the heart to be the sculpture that it is.
"A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps." ~ Psalms 16:9
We all plan our life out so well don't we? The job we ought to work. The salary that we ought to make, and the things in life that we ought to have. We establish in our mind the way that we want our life to look ten years down the road and while setting goals is not a bad thing, we need to understand that God's path may look different than ours. His allowed path can sometimes look pretty messy even.
The message of this blog is very simple when you take away all of the stories and illustrations.
"GOD'S PURPOSE, NOT HIS FAIRNESS DICTATES THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF OUR LIFE"
I can honestly say that after looking again, I would not change anything God has placed on my path because it is my journey with my heavenly Father and you have yours with Him. He knows you inside out and He knows what "Uncle Ben" moments that you need in your storyline in order to help you establish His purpose in your life!
I appreciate you taking the time to "Comic shop" with me for a bit. If I could ask one thing of you, it would be to look again at the circumstances in your life that have "added you to the roster of those that make the Kingdom the most exciting realm of all" and look again.
There will be things that are painful to see, but they were used to shape you into the person that you are and they have in turn provided you with the amazing power to make a difference with passion and drive.
I would never wish some of the events you experienced to be re-lived, but I would ask that if you have not already done so, that you ask The Writer (Father God) to open your eyes to His purpose in the story line that He allowed to be written in your book.
He loves you and your story is AMAZING!
Climbing with you,
*Next week I cannot wait to show you the other Comic book that I found! I saved the best for last!!!