Thursday, September 1, 2016

Are Superpowers Transferable?

I invited my wheelchair bound physically challenged friend over to my house recently for an event I was hosting, but because my home is not ADA accessible, I wasn't sure if she would be able to come. 

The reason I crossed out the phrase, "wheelchair bound," is because that's the one I used in my message to her, and she corrected me. 

You see, Andrea has a superpower. 

This is something that I didn't know before. Something that I need. Are superpowers transferable? I hope so, because I think she's willing to share hers, and I want some.

Andrea has spinal bifida, a birth condition that affects the spinal nerves. What I didn't know is that she uses braces and crutches to get around as well as a wheelchair. She is anything but wheelchair-bound. She is more joy-bound. Happiness-bound. Encouragement-bound. Kindness-bound. Compassion-bound. Positive-thoughts-bound. Inspiring-bound. Anything but limited.

Rather than tell you about our conversation, I'd like to share parts of it. Some names have been changed (mine) to protect the stupid. 

Ignoramus: I do have three steps in the front. Are you completely wheelchair bound, where that would be impossible, or would you be able to do something like that?

Andrea: No on the climbing stairs...

Andrea: P.S...If you use the phrase wheelchair bound with other crippies besides me, you'll need protection, because they'll beat the crap out of you.

(Ignoramus had no idea!)

Ignoramus: I am so sorry! What should I say?

Andrea: Well, if you need to ask somebody if they can actually physically get out of their wheelchair just ask them that.

(Ignoramus did the "I coulda had a V8!" head slap. Well, duh!)

Andrea (continuing): If you are referring to somebody having a handicap, you can say physically challenged.

Ignoramus: Got it. Thank you for setting me straight. I'm glad you didn't take offense at my ignorance.

Andrea: I know you didn't mean it in a bad way. I'm just protecting you from somebody who might misinterpret it.

Ignoramus: God bless you, love.

Andrea: Preventing bloodshed...Is there no end to my superpowers?

What I realized from this conversation--in addition to my ignorance--was that Andrea's superpowers go far beyond the physical. Preventing bloodshed was said in fun. Her reproof was done with humor. Her real superpower was in the delivery. 

She could have told me that I should say this and should never say that. But words like that tend to offend, which typically leads to both parties feeling hurt. 

Instead, she chose affirming phrases and words, like "you can say," and "Just ask them that." 

Andrea's real superpower is the ability to use correction without condemnation.

What I told her was this:

There are many ways to rescue people and the superpower you possess is mightier than any physical one.You have a way of rebuking with kindness (She called it a reproof rather than a rebuke--see how kind she is?).

Instead of allowing me to fall into guilt and shame--which is so common--you informed me in the kindest way. That is not only a superpower, but a rare gift.


Granted, I really didn't know I was saying anything wrong. But too many people just leave it at that. They get offended and turn away, often leaving a befuddled accuser to wonder, "What did I say?" 

A less powerful woman may have taken offense at my less than compassionate words. But a woman with the superpower of kindness and compassion cares enough not to leave her friends in a ditch. 

She corrects without condemning. 

Andrea's legs may not work as well as mine do, but her brain-to-mouth/brain-to-keyboard reflex sure has mine beat by a longshot. I could use me some of that!

Blessings Along the Path,

What's your superpower? Think you don't have one? Think again. Think hard if necessary. And share in the comments below. 

Read Andrea's story and discover more about her superpowers at 


  1. Mary - you make a great point - correction with out condemenation - that is exactly what Jesus did.. I have met very few people who can do it just this way correct and yet no condemn... One of which was a pastor - He would be correcting you and you would walk away feeling great about yourself but also understanding that you had just been corrected. :) I m so glad you have a friend with this super power -it is an awesome one. thanks for being my neighbor today at #ThoughtProvokingThursday

    1. You're so right, Debbie. She emulated Jesus. Even the fact that she called it a reproof while I used the harsher term, rebuke.

  2. Wow, Mary, it sounds as if you've found a true friend. May we all be bold in making friends who are outside our comfort zone.

  3. Love this Mary! Will be featuring it this week at the Link Party! Helpful words from your superpower friend. Thanks for sharing them with the rest of us who need them. :-)

    1. Thank you, Deb! You're so kind. I'll be sure to give Andrea the link to share on her page as well.

  4. Love this, Mary! Most especially but not limited to: 1)that you refer to yourself as Ignoramus; and 2) this gem of truth: "Andrea's real superpower is the ability to use correction without condemnation." I MUST get better at that. Still working on coming up with what my own superpower is. I do have the ability to find things in 0.002 seconds with my eyes half-shut that the rest of my family has searched "everywhere" for and which is "absolutely 100% lost." I don't think this is the kind of power you're looking for, but it sure comes in handy around here on a daily basis. ;)

  5. I love reading your comments, Elizabeth. And I think that's a pretty great superpower. My superpower lately seems to be putting things were they don't belong. While in my car at the car wash, I was thinking of the bank deposit I needed to make next and almost put it in the tip barrel instead of the money! Thanks for reading and commenting, my bloggy friend.