The Thing I Like About …

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: the part where Agent Coulson realizes he’s an “Avenger” [spoiler alert].
In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Phil Coulson has been brought back to life by some kind of wonder-drug (the effects of which will no doubt be the wrench in the works in Season Two). As he learns about what happened to him – and what might happen to him in the future – Coulson is understandably upset and concerned. In addition to wondering what the “wonder-drug” may do to him, Coulson also faces the emotional questions: why did his own people lie to him about it? Why would his mentor, Nick Fury, not tell him the truth? Why would they experiment on him?
He confronts Fury, and tells him the wonder-drug was supposed to be an extremely last-ditch measure – only to be used to save a fallen Avenger.
Fury explains that that’s what it was used for.
Coulson absorbs this, that the people around him had felt he was as important and invaluable and irreplaceable and necessary as any other Avenger.
People, especially humble people like Phil Coulson, rarely appreciate their own contribution. They accept that they make a contribution, but they see themselves as support-staff, happy just to be able to help the “real” contributors. All too often, others agree with them, dismissing the efforts of the quiet because the loud are so … loud … trumpeting their usefulness. But the truth is, especially in the real world where there are no “Avengers” with super-powers and god-like immortality, people are all pretty much equal.
We make different contributions; we have different skills and abilities and talents and preferences, and our usefulness to the world can therefore take seven billion different paths. But everyone has an effect on this world, on its wellbeing, and on its future. If we focus on anger and fear and selfishness, our contribution will not only be negative, but could in fact be extremely harmful to many more besides ourselves. And if we focus on love, our contribution will be positive and even transformative.
We can’t discount our own importance – or the importance of everyone around us. No, we don’t have to start loudly trumpeting. But we also don’t have to feel as though no one sees us, or that regular people’s actions are too trivial to count in the scheme of things. We see it so clearly when we look at the bad guys – their crimes have such far-reaching consequences – but we don’t see as clearly how the good guys’ actions reach equally far. We have trouble believing that little-ol’-us could matter all that much. We have trouble believing that just being good can be … enough.
But more than any other character in the Marvels arc, Phil Coulson shows that regular people can be heroic people, that their humility is the best part of their strength, that their courage is real, that using your brain and your heart and a few well-placed energy blasts goes a lot farther than Thor’s Hammer. And when Phil Coulson dies, it leaves such a hole that they have to bring him back.
And no matter who you are, there’s a Nick Fury out there who would move heaven and earth to bring you back, because you matter that much.

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