Alright. Time to get my geek on. It’s time to talk about my fave. My main man. That beautiful soul. Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, and all the ways he’s made me a better person.
Some people may look at Steve Rogers and see an anachronistic throwback. A man still living in the forties, with prejudices to match. One of his big lines in The Avengers was, “There’s only one God, ma’am, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that. ” Clearly Steve Rogers and I would have some differing opinions on spirituality and religion.
But the good points! Oh, the good points.
Not that good point. I’m talking about all the things Steve Rogers does that inspire me to be a better person. Like…
1. Stand in your truth
If there’s one thing Captain America does really well, it’s stick to his convictions. There’s a speech he gives in the comics (and you may recognise it from Sharon Carter in the movies):
This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world – “No. You move.”
Obviously real life has nuances and moral ambiguity, and if your river of truth is telling you that people who are different are less than you, then you should really let everyone move you.
But getting that proviso out the way, this speech is really about standing – like a tree – in your own truth.
We’re rarely asked to save the world from fascism like Captain America was. Our truths often only affect our small corners of the world rather than the whole planet.
That doesn’t mean they’re not important. If people are telling you your beliefs are wrong, listen to your own truth and tell those people you won’t move.
2. Don’t give up
Even before he was Captain America, Steve Rogers didn’t know how to quit. In the movies we see him getting beat up behind a cinema. “You just don’t know when to give up, do ya?” says the bully. “I could do this all day,” replies Steve.
We see it again and again – in getting accepted into the army, fighting World War II, taking down the modern Hydra. Steve just keeps on going.
It’s a lesson for all of us. Don’t give up on your dreams. Whether you want to build a business, learn to read Tarot Cards, meditate on the top of Mount Everest, don’t give up.
You CAN keep doing this all day.
3. Accept differences
Some people think that because Steve Rogers grew up in the 20s and 30s, he must be bigoted in some way. He wraps himself in a flag, so he must be nationalistic and rigid.
But in the comics his best friend growing up was Arnie Roth, a gay man that Steve never once thinks about turning his back on. The Howling Commandos are an integrated unit. And he always treats Peggy with respect.
Steve Rogers was always the different kid. Too skinny, too artistic, way too willing to stand up for the little(r) guy. Then he wakes up so many years in the future and he’s a man out of time.
He know what it’s like to be different, and he accepts – even welcomes – those differences (the mix of different skills and personalities made the Howling Commandos, and the Avengers, great).
In your spiritual journey, accept the differences of the people around you. They don’t need to agree with you, and you don’t need to agree with them. Remember the mix of differences is what makes the world such an interesting place, and that mix can be a huge boost to our spiritual journey.
4. Be open to new things
So, you wake up in the future. Everyone you loved is gone, or almost gone. The world has changed without you and everything is different.
You can curl up and never come out of your 40s-decorated apartment. Or you can head out and try new things.
In the movies, Steve has a little notebook of things he should try – music, food (Tim Tams, in the Australian version), movies and TV shows, and he’s out there trying them.
You don’t know what’s going to resonate with you until you try it. I’m not saying stop listening to your heart and try things that your intuition is screaming ‘no!’ about. But you should be open to new beliefs, ideas and practices. Maybe a fantasy book will spark something in you. Maybe a religious celebration you’re invited to will be a transformative experience.
Don’t be afraid to try.
5. Know that the inner you isn’t going to change
Okay, I know that Marvel have apparently decided that Captain America has been an evil Hydra villain since he was a kid. But, in the immortal words of Nick Fury, “given that it’s a stupid-ass decision, I’ve elected to ignore it”.
Why is it a stupid-ass decision? Because the essence of Steve Rogers never changes. In the movies Steve is chosen for the super-serum because he doesn’t like bullies. He is a good man, and that’s why the serum works the way it does, rather than turning him into something like the Red Skull.
Steve never forgets who he is. No matter what changes on the outside – the uniform, the name, the rank – he’ll always be ‘just a kid from Brooklyn’.
You should know that inside, the beautiful, amazing, strong soul that is the essence of you, doesn’t change. It’s just a matter of bringing your best parts forward, just like Steve did.
Steve Rogers is one of the iconic characters, and despite the hardship and loss in his life, he continues to move forward and do what his heart tells him is right. It’s an example we can all look up to.
As long as we don’t join Hydra.
Who’s your favorite character from comics? Do they have a spiritual lesson for you? Share it in the comments!