Remona AlyMonday 18 February 2019 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2
Of Superheroes and Ants
It’s my birthday next week… I’m not excited about it. But I do remember being well excited the day I turned eight, as I was gifted nothing less than She Ra’s magical winged unicorn. The unicorn came without the princess of power, but still, I was in orbit to have the steed of one of my top three supersheroes.
For me, the trinity of girl power lay in She Ra, the thundercat Cheetara and Supergirl. They were all badass blonds, kerpowed the forces of evil, and would never be found halfway inside a sofa eating 12 chocolate biscuits – all things they did not have in common with me.
Sometimes, well very often, I look in the mirror and see reflected back – an unimpressive lesser mortal with unbrushed hair who doesn’t feel very powerful at all.
But luckily, a really cool Islamic story tells me that just maybe, power is more in my reach than I think.
The story begins with a formidable king and prophet, Sulaiman, otherwise known as Solomon, whose kingdom was glorious and whose army was proper massive. One day, Sulaiman’s army was marching thunderously towards a valley, but ahead of them was a colony of ants. Sulaiman became aware of one tiny ant whose leaf-carrying life was probably flashing before its eyes at this point. But Sulaiman halted his mighty army so that neither this ant nor the colony came to any harm.
Wow, a little ant stopping an entire army. I guess I’ve been so starstruck with my blinging superheroes, I’m overlooking the power that lies in the smallest things.
And I don’t just mean insects. I see the power in something as simple as a smile at a downcast stranger – who knows, it might be the lifeline they need to know someone, anyone cares. I hear it in a word of encouragement from a friend who reassures, ‘You can do this’, and makes you step closer towards your dreams.
“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way”, said the civil rights activist Martin Luther King. How true that sounds, yet I also believe greatness comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s a princess of power or the power of a person’s small deed, I reckon there’s a superhero in us all.