Gift of Self

What are your gifts? Each of us is endowed with them. We are encouraged to share our gifts, yet sometimes our lives are not in the right place to do so. We may be fighting an illness, dealing with chronic pain or a new diagnosis. We may be momentarily overwhelmed by financial or familial needs. These are neither the times to feel guilty for not sharing, nor for denying the responsibility and truth of the precept.

I watched The Black Panther for the first time this past weekend. Curiosity piqued by news of Chadwick Boseman’s young death and the fact that he had suffered in silence for years battling cancer, I hijacked the Disney control from my special needs daughter and navigated over from the umpteenth viewing of The Princess and the Frog to The Black Panther. She liked it. She has great taste.

I saw 42 and Get on Up, not realizing Boseman was the lead in both. The man was a phenom. He should go down in the books with the greats. I look forward to watching 21 Bridges in the near future. He is flawless as King T’Challa, ruler of the African country of Wakanda. Interestingly, the country has the same pronunciation of the Osage word for spirit of the Creator.

Without spoiling, we learn early in the movie that a meteor landed long ago in Wakanda and deposited a substance called Vibranium with powers unlike any on earth. The people learned how to harness the power and it informed and developed their culture over time. They realized the danger of such a power and took on the responsibility of hiding it. They became far more advanced than any other civilization.

A great start to an engaging action adventure. But the movie goes so much farther than simple entertainment. A marginalized and discriminated population proves to be the most advanced and strong. The role of women is powerful and arguably salvific in this movie. There is outright evil portrayed in some characters, and there is right intention gone bad in others–with the awareness of the need to change and to be humbled. There is love and humor and courage.

In the real world, humanity has missed the mark a lot in terms of caring for itself and for our planet. We will probably continue to do so, but we must strive to forge something more powerful than even Vibranium, and that is Love. Love, goodness, caring, sharing…they are more than words from preschool television shows. As Vibranium was deposited in the place where all human DNA originated, love is deposited in every human heart.

Yes, we may miss the mark, but far more than our goals or accomplishments, it is the journey of life which defines us. No person is inconsequential. One dot on an Impressionist painting may seem insignificant when viewed close-up, yet in the eye and hand of the Artist, each dot is specific, calculated, intentional, planned, conceived of, colored to perfection. From afar, the painting is a masterpiece, each dot integral to the others.

Chadwick Boseman visited and befriended children who were suffering from cancer. They inspired him. He gave them joy. He did not let on to the media that he was suffering nor even to his fellow actors as he pushed himself through cancer pain to complete his lines and action. He did what he needed to try to heal, or at least to rest in between movies and takes. One fellow actor chided that Boseman was perhaps full of himself for having a close support staff around him during filming. The man later apologized for the error when Boseman died, seeing that he did what he could to heroically get through.

Instead of seeking pity and riling about the injustice of a very unjust disease, Boseman gave of himself to fans, to his loved ones, and to suffering children. More than his awards will ever immortalize his career, his love and self-sacrifice inspire the best in humanity.

“Wakanda forever.”

Author:

Yes, Mom of ten plus. Ten of our own, host-Mom of foreign exchange students and au pairs, and other wonderful young men and women. The latter were the direct influence of our special needs daughter, Mary Pat, and they have blessed us in innumerable ways. Past prime is okay; so many life experiences cause one to reflect on things learned and cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

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