I’m on an action binge this week and my favourite so far has been Guy Ritchies’ rendition of King Arthur Legend of the Sword. This is by no means a new movie but it is fast becoming a long time classic.
In this story we see Arthur’s father murdered. He escapes and finds himself raised in a brothel. We journey with him through the many scrapes and bruises he endures, all the while keeping a stiff upper lip and conquering. He is bullied and beaten, becoming what we might call a street rat that rises to the top of his self made empire.
It’s the classic rag to riches narrative but without the desire for power beyond navigating one’s own destiny. The issue arises when Excalibur reveals itself to combat a lurking evil. All men Arthur’s age are forced to try move the sword and lo and behold he does it.
Instead of being praised and given his rightful place, he is scorned, ridiculed and imprisoned. All that he has worked for and earned, all those he loves, are decimated in a flash by his Uncle, the usurper of the throne.
This is in essence the classic story of Arthur, but there were two very poignant points of interest for me. Firstly, Arthur didn’t want to be King. It wasn’t on his timeline or his to do list but he was thrust into the role. Most notable leaders were never leaders for their own sake, as they understood the great responsibility it carries.
It’s the classic Spiderman conundrum; Peter Parker saves the world but he’s late to class. Peter Parker is Spiderman but he doesn’t get the girl. When you are a leader of men in earnest, it is a great responsibility and one that comes with self sacrifice. That is why more often than not, the leaders chosen by destiny are the ones you would least expect.
They are not the strongest or even the wisest in some cases. But they are the ones with the biggest hearts, hearts that will serve the greater good above and before themselves.
That’s a pretty tall ask, especially because most people believe being a leader is bossing everyone around and all about the title. Yet in its truest form, leadership is about selflessness.
The greater message that resonates with me, in line with this movie is one of the last scenes where Arthur fights his Uncle. His Uncle poses a question to him earlier on and asks, “What drove you?” As they fight and he prepares to deliver the final blow, he boldly answers him, and I’m paraphrasing so bear with me, “You drove me…you put me in that brothel, you killed my parents…you made me, and for this I bless you”. You make sense of the devil.
Like I said I’m paraphrasing but this hit hard. There are so many setbacks and challenges we face that make us Excalibur. They sharpen us, smooth out the rough edges, hollow us out and challenge us to evolve into a higher version of self.
Please don’t get me wrong I’m all about the soft life and this year I’m actively declining being one of God’s strongest soldier. Ngicela isoft life bathong!
I don’t want to be God’s strongest soldier this year, I need a break!😂
— Jordan Nicole💕 (@JordanNicolee__) January 20, 2023
What doesn’t kill you does not always make you stronger. Sometimes it leaves you with crippling anxiety, addiction and loss to name a few. Your strength comes not from experiencing challenges but rather from facing them head on, from assessing how each obstacle has bruised you, molded you and shaped you and actively choosing to rise above and beyond it.
It is not your job to understand the actions of your aggressors, let them make sense of the devil within. But it is your job to acknowledge the strengths, lessons and growth you would have attained by virtue of them.
I’ll give an example, there’s a man made stone called Blue goldstone. It’s creation was incidental and accidental. In adding another ingredient, it was transformed into something completely new and a true gem. The take away? When you came into being you were destined for your path and all the greatness it yields. In fighting you on your destined path, your enemies challenged you to become more and elevated you into the legend you will now become.
In essence, my message is simple. Look at the difficulties you have experienced as the training grounds that built your mastery. In that simple mindset shift, all that was meant to destroy you can no longer harm you but only add to you. Strive to tackle each challenge with the aim of becoming better not bitter, in so doing you will see life through two lenses. Everything you experience will either be a victory or a lesson and in so doing, you will see that all your experiences from the gloriously beautiful to the twisted and gnarled parts cannot detract from you but only add to you.
So as you go on in your day, ask the question, who made you Excalibur? Take a moment to bless them for your revolution, then release them to make sense of their devils.
“You are made of star dust, you are made of light, embrace all your brilliance and illuminate all in sight!”