I recently watched The Dark Knight Rises with my son, and for my eleven-year-old boy the movie lived up to his great expectations of gadgets, battles, suspense and heroism. Amongst the many battles, the movie also offered some valuable life lessons.
And maybe it is because of my age; but it was these scenes that resonated the most with me, particularly the scene with Bruce Wayne in The Pit.
After the first battle with Bane that leaves Batman badly beaten, he is placed in The Pit. The Pit is a prison located in the ancient part of the world, which had established such a fearsome reputation that it became referred to as “the worst Hell on Earth”. The Pit was designed so prisoners could see the light of freedom, to give them hope of possibly escaping.
Prisoners were free to climb the structure in order to attempt their escape. They would tie a rope around their waist and begin the climb. Nearly everyone who tried the climb failed due to the gap between two ledges being too far to jump. The legend of the only person to ever escape inspired Bruce Wayne to believe that escape was possible.
After several failed attempts by Bruce Wayne, when his hope was fading fast and despair was setting in, the prison doctor says to him “…Make the climb…as the child did. Without rope. Then fear will find you again.”
(Spoiler Alert) And without the rope Bruce Wayne makes the impossible leap from one ledge to the other, and escapes from The Pit and saves Gotham City!
I found this scene a wonderful metaphor for life. Specifically how the rope is a paradox of protecting and inhibiting. I look back over my life and I see where I needed to hold on to the rope for safety, for protection. The rope was extremely helpful in getting through some tough situations however I got comfortable holding onto the rope.
When I held onto the rope for too long, it inhibited me from making the leap I needed. The rope became an anchor. It tied me down. It held me back because as the doctor says, I lost fear because I accepted the safety of status quo.
It wasn’t until I let go of the rope that I was I truly able to escape from my “pit”. And once I reached a new level, I grabbed a new rope until it was time to let that one go and make another leap.
What I am learning about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is that your version of success is dependent on when you hold the rope and when you let the rope go.
What ropes are you holding onto that can to be let go?
PS: The Dark Knight Rises totally satisfied my inner 11-year-old boy too!