(This one’s long and experimental. If you don’t do anything, scroll to the bottom to watch a video I promise you’ll enjoy.)
It feels like I should be embarrassed to admit that as a kid I watched my family’s recorded-from-television Rocky III VHS so often that I broke it. To this day I can still picture my mom’s handwriting on the label. One day after thinking it finished rewinding, I pressed eject and discovered the tape had snapped. Why that movie was ever in our house is beyond me. We never watched it as a family. Maybe it was my dads. I do remember going to see Rocky IV in the theater, though I was very young. Come to think of it, a few years later on a Bunco night at our house my dad took my brother and I to see Rocky V at the dollar theater. Yep, I’m sure of it now. It was my dad who had recorded Rocky III. Had to be.
Anyhow, back to Rocky IV, do you remember the scene were Paulie walks Rocky from the locker room to the ring? Both men know Rocky may die in the fight and this knowledge urges Paulie to say a little somethin’. He says, “I know sometimes I act stupid and I say stupid things, but you kept me around and other people would have said ‘drop that bum’. You give me respect. You know it’s kinda hard for me to say these kinda things, cuz it ain’t my way, but if I could just unzip myself and step out and be someone else, I’d wanna be you. You’re all heart, Rock.”
Fast forward to when I recited the officer’s oath to become a second lieutenant in the Air Force. My family made the trip to Alabama’s Maxwell AFB to witness the moment. I did it in a really embarrassing high voice because I was crying and hadn’t experienced public crying enough to make it at least bearable for the listener. I’ll never forget that my mom came up afterwards and while rubbing my back, said, “You’re all heart, Pete.” Now I’m thinking maybe it was my VHS-labeling mom who was the secret Rocky fan after all–she is left-handed.
Some of my posts indicate that I have a favorable view of attending church and supporting the evidence as I see it that Jesus of Nazareth existed and was crucified and that this information might mean something more. I’m always nervous about writing about such things because I don’t want any potential book readers (buyers at least) to be turned off from this blog or my writing because they think I have some agenda to convert all you godless heathens. I overcome my nerves and as such keep sharing by confessing two realities. First, despite acquiring some 1800 followers, only about ten of you have purchased my books. (Don’t feel bad. I haven’t bought a blogger’s book either.) That means that there’s no actual money on the line. Second, I don’t give a fuck if you can’t get past someone disagreeing with you about Jesus. It is literally not my problem.
I will say this about the Jesus debate though. Almost by definition, following your heart goes against reason. And here’s what I will never do. I will never trade my heart for my reason. I won’t. And you shouldn’t either.
Some of you have been hurt real bad, not necessarily your exterior, but your heart. Like a broken bone is set in a cast, you hardened your heart to allow it to heal. The trouble is that with the cast on you have come to feel invincible. Instead of being a temporary aid to enable mending so you can get back to normal, this hardening has become armor. And this armor calls for reinforcements daily.
In all the talk about hardened hearts, no one ever taught me that they compensate for their lack of compassion by increasing intelligence and reason, but I see it in practice over and over again. However, no one had to teach me that an unintended consequence of this hardening is that it keeps out the heat until the heart becomes cold. That’s evidenced daily. Consequently, I will never stop preaching that a cold hard heart is in need of say-anything-do-anything emergency life support.
To those of you that adamantly and evangelically reject Jesus, what needs to happen to warm up and soften up a cold hard heart? Need the entire planet to deny Jesus ever existed? Or maybe you’re more realistic and need just the really smart people that you want to keep liking to form a consensus that he didn’t? I have no problem conceding that–on one condition. As part of the negotiation you have to give me a specific date when you’ll return to being the person you used to be. The person who knew that not everything in life, certainly not the most important things, are logical, scientific, and empirical. And if you don’t return by that date, then I get my superstition back.
The detached nature of this written argument will never substitute for holding hands or hugging, which are probably the only things hot enough and strong enough to transform hearts. I apologize for that. And if it wasn’t for the bizarre, yet intriguing, question that came to mind, I’ll admit that this post was probably a waste of time for anyone but me. But it is a fun question. The question being, “If Rocky ‘All Heart’ Balboa was ever to fight Jesus–whose very nature would have his corner throw in the towel–do both men win?”
Lastly, here’s a video on the subject that my new job (incidentally, not at a hospital) just showed me during a training session. It’s fairly incredible. Click Here to enjoy.