Sleet was predicted for last Sunday night. So was snow. And rain. In other words, nobody really knew exactly what kind of weather to expect. So when the snow began, my children cheered because snow meant sledding. And so we went, but soon the sleet came down. Sledding on ice was fast and dangerous, throwing us from the sled more than once and leaving us with a few scratches and bruises. The sleet didn’t stop for about a day and half.

As it continued, our world slowly turned to ice.

Ice built up on the sidewalks, the trees, our cars. And then more ice built up and the trees in my yard and the neighbors began cracking, breaking completely, and dropping limbs. And when the wind picked up, the sharp snap of tree limbs falling on the frozen ground made our hearts jump and our hands shake. Would the next one fall on our house? Because we have one big tree that leans directly onto the house. Would one fall on the cars in our driveway? Our house doesn’t have a garage and we have one large pine which leans, like an old man, over the drive. All of these huge sounds from outside made us jump and run to the windows to see which tree had given part of itself over to the ice, where would the broken part(s) fall, and how big would they be.

Which got me thinking. Ice is just water, two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen, yet it had changed our little world dramatically.

And that’s when it hit me. Water is a superpower, just like in my kids comic books. Mother Nature has a plethora of superpowers but water is probably her numero uno, her top dog, her A-team, her first choice, top draft, super power. Not the power of the rain in a hurricane, not the power of flooding, not even the power of waves. Just the power of ice.

Water has the ability to turn to a solid at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. All of that ice forming on the trees weighed them down, some had limbs not only touching the ground but now laying on it.

Broken tree limbs took out our electricity for a little over an hour. As we ate lunch, my kids and I sat at the kitchen table, discussing what we would do if the power remained off through the afternoon and overnight. After lunch, forts were promptly built with every pillow, blanket, and stuffed animal known to exist in our home. “We’re surviving,” my youngest told me with a grin.

Ice had the ability to take away our source of heat in winter, to take away our ability to cook food, our ability to store food for days, removed the ability to take a warm shower, and to charge anything electronic. Which, when my phone died, left us without the ability to contact anyone, in the event of an emergency.

Water, three teeny, tiny atoms of elements bonded together, did all of that.

The superpower of water gives it the ability to change the world. 

That’s how I define a superpower, an ability possessed which when used, changes the world.

Which got me thinking, what’s my superpower?

What’s your superpower?

What do you do that changes the world?

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Is mine that I am a parent? A teacher? Someone who loves photography and is still learning? That I’m an avid reader? A wine drinker? Many of those things can change the world.

But which one is my superpower?

And how do I know?

The difference between water and myself, in the simplest way, is that I have a brain with which to choose. Water doesn’t. Water changes form based upon its external environment. It has no choice. But I do.

I choose words carefully. With the words that I type and those I speak, as a writer, I possess the ability to change the world. The words I use are intentional, hoping to bring about an emotion in a reader. The words I write are full of my truth, releasing a part of my spirit when I click publish on this page. Writing is my superpower.

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People have told me that things I have written made them laugh, or made them cry, or, and most importantly for me, made them think. Not everything I write will change the world, and it certainly won’t change the world for everyone, but I know if only for a moment, my words have shifted the world for a few. That’s all it takes.

Changing the world.

My dad’s superpower? Music. He could bring hatred between two peoples to its knees, pull together a room, and have them all singing with just a few strokes on a piano. Changed those people’s worlds, even if just for an evening. The stories I heard at his funeral were endless, told with smiles and tears. The lives he had changed stood before me, reminding me of his superpower.

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One of my best friend’s superpower is her ability to drive me to the core of an issue, immediately, helping me to see the problem and a way to fix it. When we talk, the world literally falls away, and it is just her and me, changing our lives, our children’s lives, our relationships, one deep conversation at a time. Her superpower makes me a better person.

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What is your superpower?

How do you change the lives of those around you?

Do you strike up conversations with people while out running errands, maybe the cashier or the person behind you in line? Do you recognize something in them, their need for a kind word or a smile, and willingly give it? Your willingness to offer kindness, changes lives.

Are you a good listener? The one that people come to when they need to say a few words, or say a lot, and they choose you because they know you’ll listen? Your ability to hear people, changes lives. 

Go beyond what you do. Not everyone chooses professions which inherently help people, but many do – doctors, nurses, educators, therapists, etc. Those and so many others are noble professions which absolutely change lives everyday. Just because you don’t help people in your job, doesn’t mean you don’t have a superpower.

Water freezes at a specific temperature, forming ice, which expands, making it take up more space than liquid water. This ability caused my family to acknowledge water’s power this week, to talk about it, to figure out how we would adjust if needed, to be amazed at nature once again and to realize, she isn’t the only one with a superpower.

Mother nature’s superpowers are endless.

What is your superpower?