Blind Prisoner: You do not fear death. You think this makes you strong. It makes you weak.
Bruce Wayne: Why?
Blind Prisoner: How can you move faster than possible, fight longer than possible without the most powerful impulse of the spirit: the fear of death.
This part of the Dark Knight Rises movie really pierced my soul. I couldn’t really grasp the depths of the ripples it would make. My heart pounced as I heard the words and really didn’t understand the reason why.
Let me take you back a few years ago. My body was riddled with pain, I was practically bed-ridden at the age of 30. The pain so severe that I would go through an outpatient procedure every two weeks, one that caused pain, just to have a temporary relief from my normal pain. My body was crumbling before my eyes. I suffered from chronic pelvic pain accompanied by reoccurring ruptured ovarian cyst. I tell people, pain can break you down, not only physically but mentally. I had serious conversations with God as to why he was prolonging my life. “God, this isn’t living. If I can’t live, please don’t make me stay here”. The pain radiated throughout my entire body. It seemed though it originated in my core, that not even one toenail was left unaffected.
I was unable to do anything for myself. Though married, my husband was living with a walking corpse. My children had a mother who could only sit Indian-style in the bed and could never do anything for them. Often times they were relegated to fetching things for me. I felt like the wife locked away in the attic in “Jane Eyre“. And I prayed “God, just heal me. Either this side of heaven or the other. No matter what, I trust you.” I knew if I could just get the doctors to do the surgery, I would be OK. It seemed like once I climbed that mountain, there would be sunshine and kittens and gumdrops. LOL
By the time the doctors agreed to perform the surgery to relieve me of my pain, it seemed that the parasitic nature of the pain had sucked my life dry. My kids were doing OK, my marriage suffered multiple blows and crumbled, financially I worst off than ever, and I just couldn’t seem to catch a break. I held onto Jesus for dear life (part of me feared that if this was my end, so I minded my P’s and Q’s). But I just knew the pain was the source of aaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllll my problems.
October 2008, after being on the same type of drugs that ultimately were the death of Michael Jackson for years, I had my surgery and bounced back rather quickly. It was like a new lease on life, at least physically. Everything would be OK, right? NOPE!
My marriage still was suffering aftershocks of a young couple with kids, problems, and major health issues of one spouse. Financially, I still had another health issue that existed well before the pain and kept me from being gainfully employed. But life wasn’t bad, but where or where were the blue skies I imagined? I was experiencing a “Dark Night” of my own.
THIS DIDN’T LOOK LIKE I THOUGHT IT WOULD, I wanted happily ever after. I thought the physically pain was the root of all evil in my life. My hopes were dashed into a sea of “nothing special” or “not bad, but not good either”. I learned to busy myself and try to find ways to volunteer my time, to serve God’s people. But truth of the matter is, I was mad. I was angry and pissed off. God, I asked for you to remove the pain, but some of it is still here. The pain of dashed hopes and dreams. When you took the pain I thought you were going to usher me into this new era. We were going to be the Dynamic Duo, I’m your Robin and you my Batman”. But what testimony is this, my marriage ain’t Cinderella and the Prince, my finances aren’t “Brewster’s Millions“. THIS AIN’T WHAT I THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE.
So, I died. I slowly committed suicide of “I’ll just make do” . That is when my Dark Night began. I stopped hoping for anything more than this. I asked for what I thought I needed and got just that. Maybe my marriage will never be that fairy-tale. See, I had gotten to a point in my illness where I didn’t fear death anymore, but I was not completely void of hope. And in my disappointment of what I thought my happily ever after would look like, my hope died with it. I wasn’t scared of dying AND had no hope of living. But, God did not leave me there.
My Pastor Corey Brooks preached from a sermon about “What to do with Dark Knights”. His sermon was based off one of my favorite scriptures in the Bible, Jeremiah 29:11. The message version spoke straight to my soul, and to the quote from “The Dark Knight Rises” – “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”
So I realize now, that my biggest enemy is my own fear and doubt. For if I think or feel that I am already dead, that all my hopes and dreams are already dead, I am void of the “most powerful impulse of the spirit: the fear of death.” and void of the powerful weapon – hope. But if my faith truly lies in Jesus, and I truly believe his word, then I should have hope. Hope in the idea that he has preserved my life because he truly has a plan for me, a plan that is for my good. That “THIS” isn’t it. And I can admit that I am scared. I can admit that I am not sure where to start. I have fallen away from him, but he has never let go of me, nor of his hope for me.
This quote from the movie happens when Bruce Wayne consults with a fellow prisoner on how to escape from a prison, which was nothing more than an almost endless pit at the bottom of which they had been cast. Only one had ever made it out of the prison, a child. So, the blind prisoner tells Bruce he won’t make, he doesn’t have the proper motivation -an elementary fear of death. To which Bruce Wayne responds:
Bruce Wayne: I do fear death. I fear dying in here, while my city burns, and there’s no one there to save it.
Blind Prisoner: Then make the climb.
Bruce Wayne: How?
Blind Prisoner: As the child did. Without the rope. Then fear will find you again.
So, while I was wondering how to get out of my own self-imposed dark night. It dawns on me Matt 18:3 (The Message) “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom.“
So where is square one? Matt 6:33
So, back to square one I go — with hope and no rope!