On Sunday, Superman’s destined love passed away at her home in Montana. Lois Lane left us.
Margot Kidder, the actress who brought to life the devoted brunette reporter for The Daily Planet in 1978’s film phenomenon, died in her sleep.
And it’s sad to see her go.
For so many boys at the time, Margot’s Lois embodied the ideal woman: feisty, dedicated to her beliefs, yet willing to yield to the honorable intentions of the man who loved her. Willing, that is, to let him carry her into the sky. To fly with her. To take her into a dangerous unknown, attempting to lead with the purest of feelings for her.
Girls wanted to be her.
Superman wasn’t an action movie, but a love story. The alien son of Jor-El loved Lois, loved America, and loved humanity.
I, for one, will never forget the tender, heartwarming moments between Superman and the woman who owned his heart. Accompanied by John Williams’s absolutely soul-wrenching score, with its climbing, soaring, and gorgeous theme, those scenes made an indelible mark. I can feel them now, and hear them, and see the ornate theater in which I first experienced them almost four decades ago.
I was a child, and enthralled.
Superman loved Lois. And the world. And, therefore, me.
What a beautiful story: a foreigner sees the goodness of a new land and devotes himself to preserving it — as he commits his life to a girl, who will forever have his heart. That sounds much like so many who came to America from all over the globe, to align themselves with her and the freedom for which she stands.
This was Superman. This was Lois. This was America. This was what it meant to be a hero.
My, how things have changed.
Where are the celluloid superheroes now? Superman was a hero, in the way every American can be.
Your father? Grandfather? Uncle?
Your mother? Grandmother? Aunt?
What special someone has, in your lifetime, dedicated themself to others? Who has loved another with all their heart? Who has given themself to a relationship, to a community, to a belief, and in doing so, bettered the lives of others in immeasurable ways?
The world is full of them:
The girl who left her family to join her husband in the mission field overseas.
The man who left his home to make a life with his valentine abroad.
The caretaker who devoted themself to a sick family member. Or a dying spouse.
The stepdad who changed the life of an innocent.
The mother who sacrificed all for her daughter or son.
The children who grew up to care for their parents.
All of these could be imagined, only from watching Superman. And Lois. They would have done all of these things.
What of the heroes onscreen today? Can you watch them fly, and fight, and win, and apply their virtues to the real world in which you live? Can you see that same heroism we all know really exists?
Would they sacrifice for their family? For their beliefs? For the love of country?
It seems at present time the caped cineplex marvels are less interested in the virtues of our long-ago Man of Steel and more consumed by their own super selves.
Where is Superman, who most of all loved Lois? Where is Lois, who most of all adored him?
Life, in truth, is a love story. Not an action movie. Not a series of explosions and self-serving victories. It is a romance. With the people and things you deem worthy of the best of you. In 1978, those things were family, and friends, the love of one’s life…and America. And the liberty for which it stands.
Truth, justice, and the American way.
That way was to love. And in doing so, be a hero.
Superman was. Lois was, also.
My friend’s stepfather was. Perhaps your great-grandmother, too.
The world is full of heroes. They may no longer exist on screen, but they are here.
And despite Margot’s passing, really, so is Lois. As is her lover, despite Christopher Reeve having left us more than a decade ago.
The two of them are there, in the sky. Flying high. As the music ascends.
May we all be, as well; may we all be heroes.
For children who have too few.
If we give ourselves to love, to a higher ideal, for the sake of those worthy of our all, then that is truth, that is justice, that is the way of our nation at its best.
That is truly the way of Superman.
That is the way of love.
And of life, if lived heroically.