I fell in love with Rocky freshman year during my 7pm Financial Stewardship class at bible school.
The class followed my shift in the dish room at the cafeteria, which meant I smelled of soggy food remnants that had splattered onto me despite the fact I was wearing an apron. I was soggy and sweaty from the sprint between buildings and up the tallest, steepest and noisiest stairs on campus which made sure to alert my professor (and the entire freshman class that was required to take the course) that Holly had arrived. This being one of my worst fears– all eyes on me after entering a room late. I blame my grandma for this who perpetually had us arriving at church 15 minutes late and entering by the main door that was visible to the entire congregation. I was mortified as a child AND as an 18 year old trying to sneak into class.
But there was always an open seat saved for me in the old wooden pew styled seating. It sat closest to the door which allowed me to slide into it with only a few creeks as I’d let out a slow and as silent as possible gasp as I tried to settle in for the next 2-hours.
This seat savior was an unexpected one. He’d often tease me through the dish room window when handing in his dirty tray. One time I may or may not have thrown a glass full of water at him in playful revenge. Have I mentioned that I have royally screwed up flirting my entire life?
Yet, there were those big blue eyes grinning at me every Tuesday night.
I was about as “follow all the rules” as they come while attending bible school. I did miss curfew once (yes, we had curfew), may have been “sick” through chapel a time or two and would hide my stocking free legs with my floor length skirts. Shhhh. 😉
BUT this class was brain numbingly boring and I was exhausted from my shift so when he’d sneak a headphone in my ear so we could watch Rocky on his laptop I’d gladly oblige. Listen, I’m a sucker for cute boys. Just so happens I still don’t know how to properly budget and I blame him for distracting me from a much needed lesson in my life. lol.
In his defense, his distraction introduced me to Rocky who has encouraged me many times since then. Rocky encapsulates what we (or at least what many people) aspire to be– a champion. Someone who faced many challenges and came out fists up and swinging. He didn’t win every fight but that didn’t stop him. One of my favorite Rocky quotes, and one I’m certain I’ve quoted here before, says:
Let me tell you something you already know. Life ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, nobody is gonna hit as hard as life but it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.Rocky Balboa
Life has been hitting me pretty hard lately. I know I’m not alone in this as we’ve all had to deal with “challenges”. I put it in quotes because the word challenges comes across so domesticated compared to what people have had to wade through. I’m sure if we sat down (socially distanced of course) and chatted over a cup of coffee you’d share with me your own struggle story.
The hits just keep coming and they don’t stop coming. (Slightly edited from modern day philosopher Smashmouth. haha)
Yesterday, I experienced two (more) solid blows and I begged God to let me just crawl to the ropes and claim defeat. Here I am though. Bruised, for sure, but today I feel a fight rising up in my spirit. Wiping some sweat and blood from my brow and going another round.
As you might know, a few months ago I did a mini-renovation at my apartment and spruced up an office area. A wall that had once held a picture gallery was intentionally left blank because I wanted something special to be showcased there. I just wasn’t sure what it would be until this morning.
I inherited a Rocky poster from that handsome seat saver over 15 years ago and decided it was the most fitting for this blank space. It would commemorate the life of my very own Rocky who fought valiantly until the very end while also whispering to my heart each time I pass it, “Get up, Holly. Keep swinging. You’re a fighter. You’ve got the heart of a champion.”
If you’re going through a difficult time I don’t have any easy answers, but I do think Rocky was on to something. We’ve gotta learn how to take some hard hits and keep going.
While on a nice long hike this afternoon with my best friend I was making fun of some of the fitness coaches on the internet–some of which I follow and let abuse me….I mean…train me. One in particular seems to get more and more jazzed up the longer the workout goes and THRIVES off harder moves. It’s sick and I tell her that. (Am I losing it if I’m yelling at a YouTube video?) But, hear me out, that’s the Rocky mentality. When life gets tough….get tougher.
This doesn’t mean you can’t cry or have moments of discouragement. That’s not only crazy, but unhealthy. It just means you don’t allow it to keep you down. Is there some perfect timeline for this? Nope. Every person and situation is different.
I’m just here wanting to be a Mickey in your corner letting you know “You’re gonna eat lightning and you’re gonna crap thunder!” 😉 In sincerity, sending you all my love cheering you on to get up and go another round and hit back harder.