We were looking at some verses from the Psalms at church this past weekend, in particular Psalm 18:2. The NIV translation reads as follows:
"The Lord is my rock,my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."
As part of the Message, my officer used an illustration about Captain America's shield; how it was made, how the hero used it. A good illustration for a Marvel Comics fan like myself - it sparked off so many thoughts in my head, including this very blog post.
When arriving home, I started to think about the other words in this reading. The Lord is my fortress... And I hope fellow Marvelites will forgive me if I switch comics company allegiances for a little while. These verses sparked off thoughts about Superman.
The character of the Man of Steel has always had particular spiritual significance to me (remind me one day to blog about the similarities between Kal-El's life and the life of Moses), but I've come to appreciate him at a different level after realising that this American cultural icon, one of the mainstays of the DC Comics Universe, the Big Blue Cheese - is an introvert.
Think about it.
Here we see a person who strives to change the world for the better in his own way. He shuns publicity pretty much all of the time. His alter ego, Clark Kent, is almost a textbook introvert, a "mild-mannered" loner, a wallflower. Unpopular, weak, overlooked. And yet, hidden within him there is a heroic side to his character which leaps into action when he needs to get stuff done.
But even this Superman persona, with its incredible strength and unique abilities, shows introvert qualities. He needs to get away from it all from time to time to recharge. He needs what he calls his 'Fortress of Solitude'. In the comics, this is a safe place where he can get away from it all to think. It's miles from anywhere, often depicted as located in the Arctic. Not too far for our hero, though...
In fact, the idea of such a retreat isn't unique to Superman. The concept and name of the 'Fortress of Solitude' first appeared in the Doc Savage pulp novels from the 1930s and 1940s. Doc Savage, who was known as the Man of Bronze (!), built his Fortress of Solitude in the Arctic and retreated to it alone in order to make new scientific or medical breakthroughs, and to store dangerous technology and other secrets.
I'm really pleased that my Lord offers me the same type of Fortress. As an introvert myself, I need to avail myself of this on a regular basis in order to function better before I go out to 'save the world'. My Lord provides an opportunity to spend time alone with Him whenever I need it. Somewhere safe. However, unlike Kal-El's fortress, ours is just a prayer away.