Marvel's "Avengers: Infinity War" hit the big screen. You name any superhero, and he or she is probably starring in this wildly anticipated blockbuster film. Some superheroes wear cool capes, have awesome superpowers, and the ability to emerge victorious even when overpowered. They appear as the victor, unscarred and unscathed, with their signature costume pristine, ready to save the world (again) at a moment's notice. My personal favorite movie super hero is "Black Panther" and then "Wonder Woman." If you haven't seen either of these record-setting, action-packed comic book-inspired movies yet, I urge you to go. You will definitely not be disappointed.
My real life superhero has no cape or colorful costume, but she does possess superpowers. After suffering two traumatic strokes the week before Christmas last year, my 80-year-old mother was rendered paralyzed on her right side. Following two months of rehab and physical therapy, she could no longer walk independently. But she has returned to the home that she shared for 50-plus years with her late husband. There's no place like home. She has a motorized wheelchair, lift chair, and the best home care and medical staff tending to her. Family, church members, and caring friends spend time with her.
Mom has many superpowers, but first and foremost is her deep and unwavering faith in Jesus Christ, her savior. I use the term superpower because it weaves into the theme of my story. I am aware faith is a gift and not power. Christ is the solid rock on which Mom stands. It takes great faith to stay positive, joyful, and hopeful after becoming disabled. A disability is life-changing in both a very personal and very public way. Mom has accepted hers with courage, grace, and humility.
Mom's second superpower is her positive, outgoing demeanor. I can actually see her smile over the phone (even though she doesn't have FaceTime). I can hear the happiness in her cheerful voice and the thankfulness she exudes for the gift of another day. She's still a bright ray of sunshine who cares deeply for others and loves her family unconditionally.
Thirdly, Mom exudes mighty courage. Anyone who's experienced physical therapy and rehab will you tell you it's demanding, requires patience and practice, and can be a little scary. Imagine attempting to walk with only one side of your body able to move, wearing a gait belt and leg brace, your trusted physical therapist assisting you. The therapist is guiding, instructing, coaching, and encouraging you to try new things which used to be perfectly natural — like walking. It takes true courage to even try.
Mom has the tremendous ability to forgive. She doesn't hold grudges because they ultimately weigh you down. Who wants to drag around a heavy suitcase full of grudges? Not Mom. Her earthly load is light because it's packed with forgiveness. Forgiveness sets you free.
Lastly, but not least, Mom has the power of love to share. Love is in her voice and kind actions toward others. It's in her smile and her laughter. Love is in her heart. Faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.
This Mother's Day, I dedicate my column to my amazing mother — my superhero — whom I respect, admire and love beyond words. Mom, you are the wind beneath my wings. I am proud of you and I love you. God bless you.
Cynthia Burton is a Destin resident and former U.S. Marine.