In Highlander, when one immortal kills another, there’s an event called the Quickening. There’s lightning and explosions. Energy roars into the victor, who lifts off the ground, racked with pain. But they end up stronger.
In Dragonball, the fighters gather energy to fuel their attacks. They’re not subtle about it. There’s blazing energy and flashing light and lots of screaming. They fill themselves with power, and when they release it, you know it.
When werewolves transform – especially for the first time – it’s not pleasant. Bones and ligaments pop, skin stretches and deforms, fur and claws burst out. Before they’re howling at the moon, they’re crying out in pain. Once the transformation is over, though, they’re big, bad, scary monsters.
Even in our fiction, strength does not come easily. And when it does, we cry foul. If a character doesn’t have to suffer to become exceptional, it seems cheap.
I’ve often made the mistake of expecting awesomeness without effort, both from myself and from others. It’s not realistic, and it’s not fair.
Sure, some people can coast a long way on talent. But there will come a time when what comes easy won’t be enough. I, for one, didn’t have to try hard in school until college. When I got there, I didn’t have much in the way of study skills. That was less than fun.
“No pain, no gain” is a cliché for a reason. Gaining strength will cost you.
A couple reminders for all of us:
First, transformation hurts. If you want to grow, it may not be a smooth, pleasant process. When you’re in the midst of it, imagine looking back on it, having become something new.
Second, painful stuff is gonna come one way or the other. If you’re in the middle of a sucky experience, you may as well try to grow from it. Jesus’ brother wrote a letter that reminds us to “let perseverance finish its work.” That is, whenever you can, let the pain teach you.
You’ll be better for it.
Posted on April 1, 2011, in Christianity, Fiction, Geekery, Holiness and tagged chi, DBZ, Dragon Ball, Dragonball, growth, Highlander, Immortals, ki, pain, perseverance, power up, suffering, transformation, werewolves. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.