Here’s a little secret. I love Batman. Like total nerd, there on opening night of every movie, heart pounding, like a little kid obsessed with their superhero. Batman is my man. Always the superhero my heart has connected with the most. He’s troubled, broody, searching for his own justice as well as everyone else’s, and always in black. Yup. Basically me in male superhero form.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Batman and Alfred lately. In conversation over brunch and mimosas with my (now blue) haired roommate, I said, “everyone wants to be Batman but no one wants to be Alfred.”
Batman is the hero; he’s the one everyone sees in flashing lights. He’s the one who is recognized and legendary, he’s a total badass. All the girls want to be with him, all the guys want to be him. He’s untouchable. He’s the one who is remembered and idolized. He’s the shit, basically.
And then there’s Alfred. The butler. Always the secondary character. Behind the scenes. not glamorous. Day after day he wakes up and deals with all Batman’s wounds from trying to save the world the night before. Alfred makes batman laugh, brings him food, bandages him, tends to the heart of the man behind the mask. Alfred seems like just the butler. But really, there would be no Batman without Alfred. Some of the comic books refer to Alfred as, “Batman’s batman”. Every outward hero needs someone else to be their hero behind closed doors. Batman wouldn’t be Batman, without his own Batman – his own hero and savior – Alfred.
So to say what the world needs more of is Alfred, but people aren’t as secure in that because it is the hero behind closed doors. We want to be the glam squad. Our faces plastered on magazines and always the credit with our name by it. But… in reality, it’s not real. Yes some of us are called to be the heroes, but the ones who are Alfred, the gentle pastor, protector, safe place, should not be forgotten either.
I know sometimes its lonely to be Alfred. Day after day patching back up and caring for him and loving him so well, and then him getting every ounce of credit. It’s lonely. I know.
I’m in a season of coming to terms and embracing the Alfred in me. So much of the time my heart longs to be, and yes, I know I was created to save Gotham and fly around rescuing the victims of injustice some days. But other days I am Alfred. My heart is deeply made to be a pastor, and its not glamorous and sometimes all you do is behind the scenes, loving and patching everyone up so they can fly around and get the credit; but I’m finding the beauty in that. Realizing Gotham can never be saved without the steadfast, constant, and consistent care of Alfred. This world will never be saved unless we step into our places. Not what we think we should be, but who we were truly made to be. Sometimes the one in the spotlight, but many times the one behind closed doors loving consistently and gently.
During all these earthquakes and utter devastation in Ecuador all I want is to be Batman. I want so badly to go fly in and save everyone and be labeled the hero. But I cant. I’m Alfred. Raising money. Packing boxes of supplies. Praying. Worshipping. Interceding. Spreading news. Tending to the people on the front lines and making sure they aren’t traumatized when they come home from the areas. I’m surrounding the heroes right now. And it’s humbling. But beautiful.
I know we all want to be Batman. But lets embrace the Alfred; the real hero at the end of the day. One cannot be without the other. There would be no Batman without Alfred. The unsung hero is the one we should be singing about. I know sometimes you feel small, and unseen, but never doubt the impact and strength of your tenderness, of your behind the scenes love. It’s seen. Maybe not by the media or public, but its seen. At the end of it all, let our deepest and greatest hope be that Jesus simply says,
‘Well done my sweet one, you learned how to love well.’