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Paulie: “Who fixed you up with your first woman? Me, Paulie!”

Rocky: “She was pregnant.”

Paulie: “So what? You was no prize either… You know, I always give ya. I give ya.  What do you do? You buy a new house. You move Mick in.  Did you ask me? ls there somethin’ the matter with me?  I got feelings. This ain’t cardboard!”

Rocky: “Everybody’s got ’em, Paulie.”

Paulie: “The hell with everybody!”

Rocky: “Maybe it’s the hell with you.”

Paulie: “I don’t wanna listen to this crap.”

Rocky: “You talk like everyone owes you a living. Nobody owes nobody nothin’.  You owe yourself!”

Paulie: “You’re wrong! Friends owe.”

Rocky: “No! Friends do because they wanna do.”

Paulie: “Shut your freakin’ mouth. You keep me down.”

Rocky: “Down? You’re like a crazy brother to me. You really are…  So I wanna tell you somethin’.  This is comin’ straight from the heart.  You ain’t down.  And you ain’t a loser.  You’re just a jealous, lazy bum.”

~ Dialogue from Rocky III (watch clip here)

“Who then is able to stand against me?  Who has a claim against me that I must pay?  Everything under heaven belongs to me” ~ God speaking to Job, Job 41:10-11

You ever feel like you’ve gotten hit right between the eyes?  I mean figuratively, like something suddenly knocks some sense into you, convicting you and giving you some perspective.  I felt like this happened to me last night, and interestingly enough it happened while I began watching Rocky III on television briefly before having to get ready for my overnight shift at the hospital.  The dialogue I share above between Rocky and Paulie hit home with me and unexpectantly.

During this past year and a half while I have been minimally employed and trying to figure out what’s next for me and my family I’ve had certain amounts of angst and have often felt disgruntled and down.  Most of my blog posts thus far have stemmed from this to some degree.  I’ve protested, been a brute beast before the Lord (Psalm 73:22), lamented, mourned, etc.  A fair amount of the time I’ve felt justified in these ways.  Other times though (and less often) I’ve feel guilty in my own discontent and lack of gratitude.

It was a couple months ago now that I remember lamenting some to my wife one night in bed when she boldly proclaimed, “You act like God owes you something!”  This caught me off guard.  That’s not what I was looking for.  I wanted her to listen and show some sympathy.  She was completely right though, and I really needed to hear that (seriously — Thank you, Honey!).

Time has gone on since then, but that hasn’t left me.  In all sincerity, I don’t think I’ve hardly improved much in my contentment and gratitude, and I fear I’ve mostly remained as before.  This has seemed to come to a head for me in the last couple days again though.  I’ve been really bothered by it and was last night.  Then WHAM!  It was like Rocky was talking right to me.

“Nobody owes nobody nothin’.  You owe yourself!…  You ain’t down.  And you ain’t a loser.  You’re just a jealous, lazy bum.”  OUCHThat hurt.

Now, you might be thinking, “Stop being so hard on yourself”…  Or, “About time you noticed ( 🙂 )!”  This has made me realize some things though.

One being, the main one keeping me down, discouraged, and at times angry is myself.  Also, I am not a loser or no good, and nobody’s saying/said that.  In fact I am very much the opposite.  I have a lot going for me and a lot to offer.  I think we all do, but we can often be too blind or preoccupied by our hurt, guilt, or shame to see it or live into it.  And in the midst of that I know I’ve been jealous and can turn lazy and demotivated.

Like Rocky said, “You owe yourself!”  And I owe it to myself to know and see this and maybe put it to use as I am able to see the good in me, even the good of these last few years and beyond (as it’s not like I don’t have some astounding blessings in my life – my wife and kids rush to mind), and God’s goodness within and through it all as well as yet to come.

Speaking of God’s goodness, I have an announcement to share.  On Thursday of this past week I was offered an additional job.  I am now also going to be a part-time hospice chaplain during the week along with my part-time weekend overnight hospital chaplain position, and this is a great opportunity!  What I do hope as I move forward into this position is that I can more so see it for what it is rather than what it isn’t.  It IS a great opportunity to serve and come alongside others and walk with them and get to know them.  It IS a great opportunity to gain more (and different) experience as a chaplain.  It IS a great opportunity to be used as I am and who I’ve become and am becoming.

In the dialogue from Rocky III above, Paulie, after lunging and throwing punches unsuccessfully at Rocky, stops and comes to his senses asking, “Can I have a job?”  to which Rocky responds, “All you had to do is ask.”