Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Legend of Zorro

"Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know my integrity." Job 31:6

It's 9:30 at night, and I am, after an already long day, still sitting at my desk, staring into my computer screen, putting "just one more finishing touch" on the project I am working on. This happens all too frequent for me, and in my experience working with other 20- and 30-somethings, it happens all too frequent for most people I've met.

Balancing life is everyone's issue.

For many, it's the tug-of-war between their work and their home or family. How much time do we spend at the office compared to being away from work? If you're answer puts your work time over play time, then you know what this tug-of-war is all about.

The Legend of Zorro captures this tension in the character of Alejandro de la Vega (Antonio Banderas) who is caught between his life as Zorro and his life at home with his wife Elena (Catherine Zeta Jones) and son Joaquin (Adrian Alonso).

Elena begs Alejandro to put aside the mask since he has seemingly missed the first ten years of his son's life and their marriage. Zorro's "job" is not a bad job, let me say. It's a noble task of defending the defenseless and bringing justice to those who do harm to the people of California. The Legend of Zorro is a great superhero sequel with a great superhero dilemma: Now that you're "Superman," what happens to your life outside of saving the world?

But many of us who find our work rewarding share the superhero's dilemma... how do we balance the work we find good and beneficial to others with the home life with our friends, spouse, family, and our own selves?

It's a good question, but the answer to which Job, in the Hebrew Scriptures, claims is the test that God will give us to judge our integrity, our value in the world.

No matter how great and meaningful our career may be, the judgement of our character will be based on how well we balanced everything God blessed us with: family, friends, marriage, and our own selves, our passions, our interests, our enjoyment of creation.

So how do we do it? Live with integrity.

"Integrity" means that every aspect of ourselves is honest with every other aspect. To set down the road to good balance, Alejandro had to be honest with his wife and son, about his identity, concerns, and joys, and had to remember his own role as a husband and father. Elena and Joaquin, likewise, had to be honest about their own concerns and be willing to understand the needs of the people whom Zorro serves in his work. In other words, the relationship must exhibit integrity - on all sides.

Doing good work is very important to us, no doubt about it. Being a good friend, son or daughter, husband or wife is also important to us and our relationships. But balancing our life that we've been given is the most important to God.

6 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Paul,
I love how you talked about the balance between work and play.
Although I am without a job, I can understand the difficulties that come with living the life of integrity. I have trouble myself sometimes balancing what I have in my life.
I really got a lot out of your post and look forward to the next one.
Thanks.

Jeff Pioquinto,SJ said...

nice article. thanks and God bless

Christian said...

Hi Jarzembowski,
I was just passing looking for Spiritual links on the blogger site and found your The Legend of Zorro blog. Your blog was not quite what I was looking for, but I enjoyed my visit all the same.

Pat Downes said...

Have you seen Narnia yet? I'd love to see your comments. (Of course it might be too easy -- don't need to dig too far to decipher the allegory).

Just wanted to let you know I keep up with your blog, even if I haven't talked to you in a while. Take care, Paul.

Anonymous said...

With regard to Zorro and value or otherwise of integrity when faced with the certainty of received truths, you should read "The Irish
Zorro" by Gerard Ronan.