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Friday, April 19, 2013

Strength and Other Super Powers

Every minute of every day, someone somewhere is doing something you can't do. Thank goodness for trait diversity.

My friend Heidi, the one who roped me into this challenge to write every day, has a real-life super power. Neither invisibility nor invincibility can compare to her amazing ability.

Heidi can fit into her tiny little pre-pregnancy jeans two weeks after giving birth. Pretty impressive, right? There’s more. The most recent baby was over ten pounds. The time before that? Twins. And before that? ALSO TWINS.

Actually, the jeans-thing is really more of a trait of her true super power—the action that really makes her a hero is that she was a surrogate for these pregnancies.

Magnificently modest, she shrugs it off like it’s no big deal. She tries to downplay it by saying things like I have a body that just tolerates pregnancy really well. I don’t get morning sickness, and my figure bounces back almost immediately… If I can help other families to achieve their dream, why not?

Why not?

I can tell you why this certainly wouldn’t work for me, and even if we overlooked the sciatica, the heartburn, and super-sensitivity to smells, I just don’t think I could bear to hand over that brand-new baby with whom I’d shared those previous nine months.

Heidi’s different, though. She doesn’t let herself get attached. While she can’t describe how (because trust me, I asked!) she acknowledges that this emotional-detachment quality, especially in combination with her physiological strengths, makes her able to do what she does.

Although she’s the only surrogate I’ve ever known, there are quite a few members of our society who have versions of this kind of an emotional and physical skillset.

Firefighters, police officers, doctors, soldiers, and all kinds of emergency responders are most obviously professionals with an ability to keep their emotions in check while performing very important—and often very physical—tasks.

Less obvious (but still very valuable) are the morticians, Child Protective Service Investigators, and grief counselors of our society. I would add dental hygienists to this category, but I might be the only one who feels this way.

Frequently overlooked, it seems, is the role of the news reporter. I maintain this skillset is absolutely essential is in news reporting, and I speak from experience. Or lack thereof. (Have you already forgotten about Lightning Mike?)

I do not possess the almost-magical balance of emotional detachment and physical endurance. I could NEVER report the news. Most days I can’t even bear to watch the news because I know the images and stories will haunt my dreams (best-case scenario) and disrupt or eliminate my sleep or, far worse and more likely, plague my days with obsessive worrying thoughts for weeks.

Last week I saw a dead squirrel in the road, so I pulled over to shed a few tears. (Doesn’t everybody?) I avoided that route for the next three days and took the long way home while pondering decomposition rates and wondering if squirrels have families. Did he have a wife and kids somewhere, worrying? It’s been seven days now, and I still think about that little fella every day. Sometimes several times a day. And I’m not even an animal lover.

I would be a disaster as a news reporter.

My sister, on the other hand, is an amazing news reporter. She has the skills to get the job done, and to do it well, AND to sleep at night. Most nights, she’d argue.

News reporters are among those that run toward the crisis instead of away from it. They’re not doing it for the sake of gossip; they’re attempting to learn and understand the truth first-hand so that they can disseminate it to others. They’re taking the risks so that the rest of us can be informed and remain safe. All the while, they’re having to deflect criticism from the very public they’re trying to assist.

Reporters and others in news media careers possess the super powers of strength and emotional detachment as much the traditional heroic occupations do. They arrive to work knowing they’ll likely encounter a barrage of intense situations. Let’s face it-- the news is predominantly bad. Bad news is universal, but good news is more subjective.

Would an exclusively good-news station garner many viewers?

Seventeen squirrels evaded death in Plano yesterday, with even more survivals predicted for tomorrow!
In other news, a huge amount of murders, car accidents, house fires, and kidnappings did not occur today.

Even I’d eventually tire of tuning in.

I’m grateful for trait diversity in humanity—  tremendously grateful that there are those with the strength to do what they do, day after day. They are strong in certain areas so that others can apply their own strengths to the situations and careers of their callings.

Which, in turn, allows me the liberty to exercise my strength and honor my calling:
currently squirrel mourning.

1 comment:

  1. I am posting this here and on FB so everybody sees it; I agree with Heidi; you have an amazing heart, Court. We all love you just the way you are.

    Your friend Heidi has my utmost respect and honor for the fact that she has been a surrogate all those times; God bless her and her doing this. I admire her attitude and her willingness to help out. I am not sure I could surrogate for somebody, as I share the feeling about not wanting to give up the baby I carried in my belly and bonded with for 9 months. I am a very emotional-attaching person, which comes into direct conflict with my professional skill set.