“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does”. — William James. Some days we each wonder if we are making any headway at all. We might wonder if our efforts are making a dent. Of course they are! Sometimes we just can’t see it. Other days we can see evidence of the difference we make. Either way, whether we see it or not, right below the surface the threads of the tapestry of our life are becoming a beautiful picture.
But boy oh boy life can wear us down. You feel like you hear the same arguments and stridency over and over and over. You keep giving positive input. “They” keep being negative and divisive. They might even call you names. I know they do with me….Indeed, life beats us up.
Ding! Here is an analogy. When we were kids one of my brothers bought a rock polisher. He would put arrowheads, agates, and other pebbles in there for polishing. When that contraption was on, with the agates and stones inside it was exceedingly, almost deafeningly noisy. It went on for days (around the clock). But when the cycle was complete, those rough little pebbles were shimmeringly beautiful. Perhaps our lives are like that rock polisher: noisy, irritating, involving a lot of being banged around. Our own selves cannot become shiny, glowy, compassionate, loving, and empathetic without a whole lot of noisy polishing processes.
The mistake I (and perhaps you) make is to use those bad events, losses, and difficulties as excuses to stop trying or develop a negative attitude. The Rocky movies have always spoken to me. The first one and the final one (entitled Rocky Balboa) touched me deeply. But I find that the character of Rocky has changed and evolved and been a real representation of some of the things going on in our society at the time each of the Rocky movies was made. That fact has resonated through his movies. Each one has imparted lessons that I’ve taken to heart.
In the final film there was a very touching scene between Rocky and his son. Rocky gave a very moving speech about persistance. Rocky’s son has developed a bad attitude and has been blaming all of his alleged troubles on the “burden” of living in his father’s shadow. Rocky delivers a knock-out punch of a soliloquoy.
“Somewhere along the line you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good; and when things got hard you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow. Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a 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. You gotta hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit or how many times you get hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep getting back up and keep moving forward; 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 pointing fingers sayin’ you ain’t what you wanna be because of him or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that! Until you start believing in yourself, you ain’t gonna have a life”.
That scene spoke to me. There are times in the battles of life when it seems easier to not get up. But of course we must. We must press on. We must finish the race. God will give us the strength to do that. People who love us will strengthen us too. So battle on today. Go the distance….always go the distance. God will be at your side. He will bandage your wounds, and cheer you on. So go the distance.