Wednesday, June 20, 2012

HIT

Of all of the Rocky movies, my favorites were the last and the first. Everyone remembers the story of, Rocky, the underdog who gets his big break and meet Apollo Creed in the ring. We cheered when The Rocky Theme was played. Rocky calling for Adrianne after the fight - "Adrienne, I did it!". The final movie, Rocky Balboa, had the hero well past his prime. A man who had buried the love of his life, Adrienne. The Rocky Theme would play softly and very slowly as we watched Rocky sit at the graveside of Adrienne in a wooden chair - and talk to her. In the last movie, Rocky is a has-been with brain damage and he is alienated from his son. He has been to the mountaintop and now is back in the valley. He is a lonely -- BUT NOT A BROKEN man!

The scene below is, in my opinion, one of the greatest scenes I have seen in any movie:
"Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life...
But it ain't about how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. . It's How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done...
Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not point fingers and blame other people. Cowards do that and that ain't you. You're better than that!..!!!"
This movie had a huge impact on me because what was said was so true in my own life. " Its not how hard you hit, but how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward." I think most of us have had our fair share of hits. How we respond to those hits determines if we choose to be a "victim" or a "victor". I have had some hits in my life that I thought would knock me out of the game. Honestly, my initial defensive response was to blame the situation or other people or a person in general; then I came to realize that it was my choice that caused it. I am not saying that there cannot be outside influences, but there comes a time when you have to say to yourself,
"OK, that sucked and it really hurt me - DEAL WITH IT!"
I know many people who are clinging to past pain or even past successes that have  long ago gone away. In many cases losing success is one of the hardest. When I went through my divorce I had a successful Mortgage Banking company, (that was before they became the pariahs of our society), I went from making mid six-figures to nothing. The next year my gross salary was $27,000. My family was shattered, I was alone, I had lawsuits against me, I was in bankruptcy and foreclosure. I even had the District Attorney's Office deposing me to see if I had done anything that warranted prosecution. Yet, through the grace of God - I survived.
For me, it felt like I had hornets swirling around my head. It seemed that wherever I turned there was another attack - I was completely overwhelmed. I sat down one night with a pad of paper and I wrote down all of the things that I was facing. I took the hardest ones first and made a list. I had decided I would fight them one at a time. I can handle one hornet better than a swarm. One by one I took them on, but with a constant gaze toward the future. It took years and it wasn't easy but by focusing on the future I was able to defeat the past. Now, I am not Superman, there were times I felt like ending it all with a bullet to the brain. Yet the drive to make it through the "Perfect Storm" in my life gave me that North Star to guide me.
For those of you in your own "Perfect Storm", all I can tell you is to look to the future. Dwelling in the past, whether success or hurt will keep you nailed in the past. You will never move forward, you will constantly blame others and most importantly you will NEVER heal. When Paul writes in Philippians 3 he is reflecting on all of his grand accomplishments:
"But whatever was to my profit, I now consider it loss 
for the sake of Christ.
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to
the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,
for whose sake I have lost ALL things.
I consider them rubbish (Gk. Manure/dung, rotting food),
that I may gain Christ ....
But I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus 
took hold of me.
But one thing I do:
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
(Philippians 3:7-8, 12b, 13b - NIV)
It is interesting that Paul uses a word for dung in referring to his past and present accomplishments. For Paul, his life is consumed in Jesus Christ. We should take comfort in knowing that although this world will beat you down, there is One who will lift you up. Look to the future and for help on its horizon.
Below is Rocky remembering a talk he had with his trainer Mickey. If nothing else -- Listen to the angel on your shoulder,
"Get up you son of a bitch! Mickey loves you!"
Peace,
Al