I was reading a book recently with a minor character, an inn keeper, who hired the main character in spite of the problems that it might cause. Without going into great detail about the story, the main character was sort of black listed from every inn with the threat of trouble to anyone who would hire him. He was turned away from every inn but one. When the main character grew concerned and asked the innkeeper if he was worried about trouble, the inn keeper responded, “Trouble? I was in trouble afore you were born. I been in trouble you don’t even got words for.” Many books and movies have characters like these in them. They have a grit that seems to defy fear. They’ve been through troubles and don’t fear them. I think that is the most impressive part of the character. It isn’t so much that they think they can avoid the trouble or that the trouble won’t hurt them, it’s their confidence in their power to endure. They seem less likely to back down, be bullied or fail to do the right thing even in the face of a threat. These individuals have lived life, know what they are capable of and do not fear loss because they believe in their power to build again and in their power to endure.
I don’t often go looking to Rocky movies for wisdom, but the last Rocky movie has an interesting scene in it (click here). What struck me about this scene was that it caught me off guard. Rocky’s son is complaining that his dad’s decisions are negatively impacting his life and to an extent he was accurate. I expected Rocky to be somewhat apologetic but explain that the decision he made to fight was one he had to make. I was surprised when Rocky made no apologies but confronted his son about being a victim. The Rocky character was never one to blame or make excuses and this is what he wanted for his son.
He tells his son that life is hard and we can’t avoid being hit. He states that it isn’t how hard we hit but how hard we can get hit and keep on going. What a powerful insight. The test of true grit is not in our ability to hit but our ability to take punishment and keep moving forward. Those who know this and know their own mettle do not fear the storms or the repercussions of doing the right thing. They know they can take the hits and keep moving forward. Who would have thought such a gem could be nestled in the midst of a Rocky movie! If we can take the hits we can’t be defeated. If we know we can take the hits, we have nothing to fear.