One punch at a time.
One round at a time.”
Recently I watched the movie Creed – the latest in the decades long Rocky series of movies. While the entire movie was entertaining, what has stayed with me were those words of encouragement that Rocky gave to Adonis, Apollo Creed’s son.
Life has felt heavy lately. It is not that my own life has become heavy. It is that we are called to carry each other’s burdens. So many people around me are struggling with illness or profound sadness. They are people I care about. Our national relationships have been weighed down with verbal and physical attacks. The sin of racism, sexism and homophobia are ingrained in our public institutions. My heart is heavy for all people who have to carry our prejudice in their every step.
As my vision widens, the negativity and heaviness of life feel overwhelming. Is it possible for our national culture of meanness to change? How can we address and change the systemic prejudice in the United States? When will my friend’s baby daughter turn the corner and start to heal?
Life is heavy. And yet, here we are in the season of Easter, living in post resurrection hope. God has shown us through the Easter miracle that no matter how overwhelmed we may be with life, we will never be alone.
How do I move forward when my feet and my heart feel stuck? How do I get through the daily-ness of life?
[Enter Rocky Balboa]
The young impulsive Adonis Creed wants to prove himself. He wants to take on the doubters and prove that he is not a “throw-away”, someone who is easily forgotten. Adonis/Donny is fighting with life more than any opponent he faces in the ring. Rocky tells the young man to slow him down, to narrow his focus so that he can see what is in front of him.
The Italian Stallion coaches: Don’t focus on your legacy. Don’t even think about the end of the fight. Take one moment at a time. “One step at a time. One punch at a time. One round at a time.” Find yourself in that moment at do what needs to be done.
Rocky is also talking to me. Don’t be weighed down by all the heaviness in the world. Don’t carry more than you can hold. Find yourself in each moment and do what needs to be done.
Maybe Rocky Balboa had taken advice from the writer of Hebrews, “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us”. (Hebrews 12:1)
We are surrounded by witnesses and we are the witnesses. We carry the weight for others and we let others carry the weight when we can’t.
That is how I will cling to resurrection hope. I will lift my head and see what is in front of me to do. I will care for the people important to me. I will draw attention to prejudice when I see it. I will call out meanness. The big picture isn’t mine to change. God already did that.
I will run the race set before me. I will take one step at a time, one moment at a time…with you - together.