Flora Buckman (Matilda Lawler) is only 10 years old, but she already describes herself as a cynic. An avid reader, one of Flora’s favourite books is called Terrible Things Can Happen to You. And something terrible has happened to her. Her mom, a romance novelist (Alyson Hannigan, How I Met Your Mother), and her dad, a struggling comic-book writer turned hardware-store manager (Ben Schwartz), have recently separated. Flora lives with her mom, but they have a strained relationship, and she wishes she lived with her dad.
One day, a quirky neighbour is vacuuming her lawn and accidentally sucks up a squirrel. Flora hears the commotion and hurries to help. She performs CPR to resuscitate the little guy and then decides to take him home. She names him Ulysses after the brand of the vacuum cleaner that sucked him up.
That night, Ulysses types a message on Flora’s mom’s computer: “Squirtel. I am. Ulysses. Born anew.”
That’s when Flora decides that Ulysses’ vacuum cleaner incident has turned him into a superhero. Not only can Ulysses spell (sort of), he can fly and has super strength, too!
Flora believes that every superhero has a purpose, and she is determined to help Ulysses find his. She soon discovers that he has a real knack for helping people, including her. The little squirrel brings something into Flora’s life that she’s never allowed herself to feel: hope. But when her mom decides that Ulysses’ odd behaviour indicates that he has rabies and calls animal control to take him away, Flora stands to lose her only true friend.
Can Flora overcome her cynicism and allow this unexpected hero to help her fix the broken pieces in her life?
Superhero squirrels only exist in the movies, but ordinary people with special gifts and talents are everywhere. Some of us have the wonderful ability to read other people and intuitively know how to help them. Others have a way of making another person feel loved and accepted with just a simple smile. Some people are sacrificially generous with their time and money, and others use a talent, such as cooking or being great with kids, to serve others.
These abilities might not seem like superpowers, but they are granted to us by God for a specific purpose. He wants us to use our talents to help others and show them His love. When Flora was sad about her family’s problems, she said that people often look to the skies for someone to save them, and she felt that Ulysses was sent to save her. But the more time she spent with him, the more she realized that she could help people, too.
“The best part of having a superhero around is how you start to feel like one, too,” she says.
A Hero in All of Us
Flora’s words can be true for us as well. Spending time with kind and generous people could inspire us to be more thoughtful ourselves. Good deeds can often be contagious and helping another person can remind us that there’s always a reason to feel hopeful.
In today’s world, there are a lot of reasons to feel cynical. One look at the headlines can make us feel apprehensive about the future. Like Flora, we might look to the skies for Someone to save us. While God does save His people, He often uses other people to do it.
We don’t have to have superpowers, either. We just need to reach out and love people using the gifts that God has given us. Doing that makes each of us a superhero.
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