We Must Transcend The Things That Hold Us

These words of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter’s, in the motion picture of the true story, “The Hurricane” (1999) are etched in golden truth for anyone who’s had a real life battle of the titans and won. It’s like the summation of the movie in one short statement; how a fighter who had dealt with massive injustice all his life had to deal with it big time, to break a tortuous 20-year incarceration-the fight for his freedom against a system of inherent and rampant corruption.

The part of “The Hurricane” when Carter (played brilliantly by Denzel Washington) says “We must transcend the things that hold us,” is particularly poignant. Facing incredible odds to fight the system, whilst simultaneously maintaining his sanity, Carter was faced with making such a resolve-it was crucial for his survival. It required a commitment to himself; a commitment to flip his world upside down in order to stay in the game. He begun to work and study at night, and sleep during the day-anything really, to remain sane and strong. There’s a key lesson here. It’s one of protection. It is about protecting the relatively clean spirit that exists within each one of us, guarding it against corruption. Carter identified it. He identified it and then put a plan into place and executed it. That takes courage and discipline, or put together, faith and diligence.

So what holds people? And, how do people transcend these things? The key learning and inspiration here is this: there are many things, people and situations (things + people) that will make their most ardent attempt to ‘hold us’ in this life. It’s a hard fact of life. This is because many people and things want control over us. This is not love-based.

To make this clear, a ‘hold’ is anything or any relationship that doesn’t or can’t stand up to truth; and anything that corrupts or potentially corrupts. This includes anything downright sinful, relationships that will never be a blessing, or anything that has a negative hold and doesn’t have a good reason for a person to continue with-taking into account the many things that might appear to ‘hold us,’ but in fact are actually good for us-these are not subject to this discussion. For instance, the job we must hold, or the critical mentoring relationship that is ‘difficult,’ but beneficial. We must contend with these things and endure them, until it is the right time to leave, and “move on.”

Anything that you know implicitly is truth, will not seek to hold you. Eugene Peterson wrote of the 1 Corinthians 13 in The Message paraphrase, Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. The only exception to this is when ‘the hold’ gives you life, for instance, when someone is trying to escape a hold, perhaps an addiction. At these times, in these situations, it is critical to stick with it because the hold is actually because of love; often known as “tough love.” It is at these times and places in life when people need to be humble and accept what is good for them and their future. So, this wisdom is not about ‘healthy holds,’ which could better be referred to as ‘bonds.’

This wisdom is a call to address co-dependent style relationships[1] whether they be personal (in the form of habits, addictions etc), with another person (classical co-dependence), or organisational (for instance, within a workplace, club, or religious setting including sects, church fellowship, mosque etc).

A hold is like a veneer finish. One of our challenges is not only to see through the hold, but also to be able to break through this veneer, because holds are truly just that, veneer. Truth stands, but falsity crumbles once the veneer is broken through. One of the most important roles in life is to be able to recognise falsity and deal with it courageously by breaking through its veneer. Veneer is facade, appearance, the surface of the matter only. Truth is a foil for all sorts of lies in life; we must see through, and past the veneer, to gain ‘life.’ It’s about learning to dig deeper into such a matter so as to reveal the truth. The truth stands challenges and tests.

Again, these matters (the things that hold us) are from things or people or situations (things + people). Once it has been recognised the thing/people/situation has a negative hold on us, there has to be a plan to break free. To do this properly at times requires guidance from those that actually love us and we can truly trust.

We must break the cycle of dependency and this can be likened to an insect breaking the surface tension of water; a mosquito lands on it-it doesn’t have the weight or ability to break through the surface of the water; weight is needed to get through it. To break through the veneer of a co-dependent relationship requires strength and power; not physical strength and power, but mental, emotional, and spiritual strength and power. There must be a persistence to break the hold in unhealthy relationships.

This can take months and in some cases years, and requires eternal vigilance.

© Steve J. Wickham, 2008. All rights reserved Worldwide.

[1] A “co-dependent” can be loosely defined as someone who shows too much, and often inappropriate, caring for persons who depend on him or her. A “co-dependent” is one side of a relationship between mutually needy people. The dependent, or obviously needy party(s) may have emotional, physical, financial difficulties, or addictions they seemingly are unable to surmount. The “co-dependent” party exhibits behaviour which controls, makes excuses for, pities, and takes other actions to perpetuate the obviously needy party’s condition, because of their desire to be needed and fear of doing anything that would change the relationship. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codependence