When my great little nephew was three, he had a fixation with Spider-Man.
He kind of still does.
At three, he had never seen a Spider-Man movie.
He just knew that Spider-Man was strong and good and that he was a hero.
There was a time when he was rarely seen without his Spider-Man costume.
If he wasn't allowed to wear it at the time, he had it in his hand, or it was waiting for him in the car.
I can remember seeing him in a costume that had no backside. It had been completely worn away.
He went through many Spider-Man costumes.
My niece (his aunt) was at a party and overheard a conversation about a little boy that was always seen in a Spider-Man costume. My niece raised her hand and proudly said, "That one belongs to me."
It was a precious age. The memories are too many to count.
On a trip to Disney World, his parents let him wear his costume throughout the park.
Stranger after stranger commented on the "miniature Spider-Man." Other park visitors came up to him, to "high-five" Spider-Man.
One of the nights, after a day at Disney, he was laying beside his dad in the dark motel room, and he said, "Dad, do you know what?'
My nephew said, "No, what?"
In a quiet little voice he confessed, "Daddy, I'm not really Spider-Man."
His daddy, who was holding him in his arms, said "I know. I know."
My nephew was excited to think other people thought he was Spider-Man, but he wanted to make sure his dad knew who he really was.
I too, at night in the dark, call out to my Father.
I have my own confession to make.
No matter what other people think of me, I want my Father to know who I really am.
"Father, I know I pretend to be strong, but I'm not.
I may seem like I have it together, but I don't.
I may tell people that I'm fine. But I'm not."
And in the dark, when there's just the two of us, I feel my Father hold me a little tighter.
And I hear Him say, "I know, Cheri. I know."
" . . . for He knows the secrets of every heart."