There’s that one scene in every great movie. You know the one I’m talking about.
That scene where it looks like the hero is about to lose it all.
When George Bailey cries out to God in a drunken stupor, “I’m at the end of my rope.”
When Luke Skywalker finds out that his is the only spaceship left in the attack against the Death Star.
When Buzz Lightyear realizes that after all this time, he really is just an ordinary toy.
We can all relate to those characters, especially Buzz.
We start out this life believing we’re capable of doing anything, that we’re invincible, that we can fly. Then life gives us a couple of dozen smacks across the face and we’re left struggling to believe if we ever possessed any value at all. Our disbelief opens the door wide open to Fear who invites Pain and Struggle along for the party, initiating a cycle of Pity Party Paralysis.
What’s interesting about each of the on screen scenarios is that in each case, the hero never makes it out of their sticky situation without the help of another person.
Clarence jumps into the water to save George Bailey.
Han Solo swoops in at the last second with the Millennium Falcon.
And even a former enemy in the form of an old cowboy doll becomes Buzz’s biggest supporter and confidant.
Every one of our stories is eligible for a comeback.
First, however, we need to believe that a comeback is indeed possible and we are worthy of receiving one. We need to kick some late night partyers out of the house and put Pity Party Paralysis to bed.
Second, we need to understand that most comebacks don’t happen without the help of someone else. This is usually a harder pill to swallow than the first. Our modern image of what it means to be a hero is often framed by the cultural narratives we interact with daily, narratives that say we have to have it all together or we can buy our way to success in just a few simple payments.
Look closely and you’ll discover these narratives are written in airbrush and Photoshop.
Truly great stories are written in the blood, sweat, and tears of their heroes and those they choose to journey with.
If your story needs a comeback, cast out a lifeline. No it’s not sexy. Admitting you need help, that you are in fact, just an ordinary toy whose batteries are worn, never feels fun. It is however, the way most comebacks begin.
Perhaps you’re living at the height of your story right now. Maybe it’s time to take a cue from Clarence, Han, and Woody and become someone’s liberator. We should all be looking to find ourselves in the process of rescue. Sometimes we’re the life preserver. Sometimes we’re the life.
Mike Foster is the Co-Founder of People of the Second Chance (www.SecondChance.org) and the author of an innovative small group study called “Freeway: A Not-So-Perfect Guide To Freedom.”