We were leaving the theater, we had just seen Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, and I was walking next to my Father and I asked him what is favorite part of the movie was, and in his heavy accent he said, “Oh the ‘Fadder to a dead son, the husband to the dead wife.'”
I remember during the movie, when Caesar was provoking Maximus by describing what the soldiers had done to his family, I could hear my Father mutter something, like “Ayy…” or something to that extend, but what I understood from that simple indistinguishable sound was that you do not insult another man’s family!
And this is true, it was the reason my Father loved that particular scene, because it showed one man’s love for his family, living or deceased, his devotion to them was nothing short of admirable, it’s what drives him to try and kill the Emperor, revenge for what he has done to his family.
Granted, revenge is never a good thing, but I’m talking about devotion and love to one’s family. My Father loved seeing that on the silver screen, and I bet it’s because he sees a reflection of what he does, although I’m not sure if he was aware of this at the time.
In either case, from that moment, as well as each time I see Gladiator, I’ve learned that you can insult a man in any way you wish, yet you do not insult a man’s family, this is his legacy, his blood, and where his home lies. Everyday we go out and brave whatever storm that comes our way, yet we do this knowing that we can always come back to where we feel safe and secure, my Father was not a wealthy man, yet because he can always come home to those he loved, he never needed the money, nor the luxury, we were rich enough just having a meal together, laughing and watching TV, all of us sitting on the couch eating popcorn, that was all we needed. It was all he needed in order to be truly at peace with the world.
If nothing else, it was the sign of honor, if not more than that. Honor is defined as “honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions” Well my Father believed in his love for his family, and that singular belief has taken him to limits other men only dream about, and all the while he’ll have a smile on his face, not because he’ll be admired or praised for enduring such things, but because he know why he’s doing it.
I recently came across a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche that really resonated with me, it goes, “He who has a ‘why’ can endure any ‘how’“. Why did my Father endure so much pain and agony with nothing but a smile on his face? Why did he never complain when faced with working long and exhausting hours? Why was he able to get up every day for 20+ years going to the same job day after day, as the commute kept getting longer and longer?
Why why why? Because he has something to work for, to fight for, to endure all of this and more for. Because for him, pain is temporary and insignificant compared to the feeling of being hugged by his kids or kissed by his wife, or to hearing the sound of laughter as we tell jokes and stories, or to feeling loved and admired when we look to him for guidance on anything.
He chose to do it, each and everyday. And he’ll always choose to. Because that’s how dedicated he is.
… Heh, as I’m writing these, I’m feeling less and less like a man, and more like a little boy again, at least when compared to my Father.
Hmm… My Father had his why and that’s what helped him get through it all… I need to discover my unwavering reason for enduring all of the wrath of Hell and Earth and everything else that will get in my way…
… Heh heh, so far I’ve got nothing… Well, nothing so far, but I can sense that something is building up. We’ll have to wait and see…