Facing the Hulk
So, I know I said this is a conversion journal, and yet, there is nothing specifically about my conversion yet, but that’s half the fun. Anyways, Let’s talk about my life.
So, I have had a long week. Balancing two jobs, a church I pastor at, my family, my girlfriend and all the blogging that I do is no easy task. In fact, it’s damn near insurmountable sometimes. This whole process is funky, it’s weird, it doesn’t always fit right. I’m often left with more questions than answers. But let’s look at today’s topic.
The Big Green Tragedy
Have you ever heard Stan Lee talk about the Hulk; have you ever heard him describe what the Hulk means to him? I have. It was an interview that lodged itself deep in my mind and kept coming to the surface today. The Hulk is a tragic figure, he’s an anti-hero. He’s a big green destructive force, the unbridled power of rage, bound up inside a little man. I like the Incredible Hulk because I can relate.
I often feel that my biggest tragedy is that I can power my way through almost anything. I can force things to happen, I can take control of things, or just carve a solution into the midst of mountains through sheer will power alone. Yet, when I do this, I leave a swathe of destruction, chaos or general tragedy in my wake. I cannot control the outcomes of my outbursts.
And by outbursts, I mean seething inner torments. I’m not very outspoken, even when angry. I yell someitmes, but it’s few and far between, I do my best to stay calm on the surface. But just like Bruce Banner, there’s always this insurmountable uncontrollable power raging on the inside. I often try to muscle my way through things, to my detriment. Instead I should just let it be, and move through things with grace. I’m learning that being patient, and suffering can greatly increase character and wisdom where immediate remedies can actually weaken me.
The Hulk is a tragic figure.
I will only paraphrase Stan Lee, because I can’t remember it exactly he said something like, ‘and the Hulk, was my rage, all my frustration and passion’ poured into one character. The Hulk rarely connected with me as a kid, but in my mid teens I began to understand the Hulk, and what he meant. He’s a tragic figure, unable to control the world around him, all this power, yet a general inability to make things work for good. At least, that’s the sense that I get. I watched a hulk cartoon as a kid, and it seemed like while there were small victories, there was always the sense that the hulk was just good at being big and destroying things. I always saw the Hulk as a tragedy.
I sat down today, placed my head in my hands, and thought long and deep, until I saw this monster before me. Screaming in my face was my own inner hulk, full of rage and it was as if I were sitting at a table and he was across from me, leaned over the table inches from my face, screaming. I looked my hulk in the eye, and I thought long and hard about what I taught my kids last night. “Patience is better than power, and controlling one’s temper, than capturing a city.” (Holman Christian Standard. I know it’s not even close to what it really says literally in the Vulgate or in the Hebrew, just run with me.)
As I sat and meditated on this verse, I learned something, that this screaming rage, this unbridled power to will myself master over things didn’t have to control me, neither did I have to fear it. Just like Jekyll and Hyde, I have a dark side, but I don’t have to let it control me. I sat there, in this little imagined scene, letting this hulk pour his fury out at me, for many reasons, and as I stared back, I just decided enough was enough.
I imagined forcing this raw power to sit down with me. I faced my inner hulk and made us sit down for tea. I decided, no more. No more fear, or rage, or sheer willpower against my better judgment. And in my mind the hulk calmed down, we saw into each other, I understood the power that is within me, the unbridled freedom to exist and muscle through almost anything, and I think that side of me understood the chastising virtue which I was bringing to the table. I made him civil, he made me strong.
I decided to take the situation into my own hands, but then offer it up to the crucified Jesus. I cannot master my challenges, but I can let him crucify me through them, so that both my Bruce Banner, and my incredible hulk learn to speak volumes of strength through their weakness. So that where I want to muscle through, I learn patience, so that where I’d like to overthrow cities, instead I learn to follow what the Lord Jesus would ask of me.
I hope you enjoyed this snippet of comic-book Catholicism, I know I had fun writing it.
Comment if you have thoughts.
*side note: i do not own the Hulk, Stan Lee, the Universe or a pair of skinny jeans. Don’t sue me.