Monday, January 01, 2007

Rocky Balboa

new years resolutions and second chances...

Throughout all December, knowing that 2007 was slowing approaching day by day, I was mulling over some New Years resolutions that I wanted to make. I don’t usually make New Years resolutions, but this year I made a pre-New Years resolution to start making resolutions.

Why? Because not making resolutions wasn’t getting me anywhere either.

Earlier in 2006, I had made a mid-year resolution to get healthy, lose weight, eat right, exercise more often, and improve my quality of life in my spare time (and not work so long and hard so I could have more “spare time”).

With the colder weather, though, I stopped exercising outside; and since I’m in the process of moving, we packed away all the exercise equipment, so I stopped exercising inside too. Then with the holidays and hectic Christmas schedules, I found that my eating habits were getting less than stellar.

But the New Year was a second chance to start over.

And on New Years Eve this year, I happened to catch the new movie Rocky Balboa in the theatres, and how appropriate it would be for me.

In this, the sixth Rocky movie to date, the Italian Stallion (Sylvester Stallone) is an old, tired man who pines for one more chance to get into the ring. He longs for the days when he was young and naïve, when he took on Apollo Creed, Mr. T., and that guy from the former Soviet Union. One can even feel Stallone himself is begging us, his audience, to give him one more chance to show what Rocky can do on the silver screen.

On New Years Eve, how appropriate it was that we should give Rocky and Stallone one more chance. This movie spoke to me about second chances. At various points in our lives, we have all wanted one more chance to make right what once went wrong, or to prove to someone else we had it in ourselves all along.

For Rocky, everyone doubted him because of his age. They doubted that an old guy like Balboa could go toe to toe with Mason Dixon, today’s world champion boxer. But Rocky says, “I got a feeling in my gut that I can do it.” We’ve all been there, too. No one else believes we can do it, but we know in our gut that we can.

So many people doubt that we can keep our New Years resolutions, but in our gut we feel each year we can. And when we do succeed, it’s usually because there are others around us cheering us on (conversely, when we don’t succeed, it’s because we’re all alone). God gave us friends to cheer us on.

One of the most pivotal scenes of the movie is the moment that infamous Rocky theme song, “Gonna Fly Now” by Bill Conti comes trumpeting into the theatre. Don’t we all want to have that soundtrack playing in the background as we make our New Years resolutions, with our friends and mentors cheering us on, standing right beside us? (this song actually does do that to people; case in point: stay for the closing credits as images of everyone people make their own journey up the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to the sounds of the Rocky theme music).

Ours is a God of second chances. Jesus keeps challenging his listeners to repent, to start over, to make a resolution for a second chance on life. I can imagine Jesus with the boom box over his head, blasting “Gonna Fly Now” on the speakers, cheering us on as we take a new turn in life, chart a new course, make a new resolution.

“Repent, for the Reign of God is at hand,” Jesus said. (Mark 1:15) In other words, God is always open to second chances. The question is, will we make them, and then, will we keep them?

With God and our friends cheering us on, like Rocky, I have a good feeling we just might. Happy New Year!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you have any suggestions for dealing with change? I am trying to work on a resolution of my own and find myself struggling with the fact that it is a change, even though it is very much for the better.