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Of Vikings and jellyfish

In the movie The 13th Warrior an Arab named Ahmed, played by Antonio Banderas, ends up with a bunch of Vikings on a mission to save a village from some scary bear-men. At one point in the movie they give him a sword and he nearly drops it. He says ‘I cannot lift this.’ To which his Viking friend Herger the Joyous says ‘Grow stronger.’ Another time Ahmed says ‘I am not a warrior.’ Herger replies ‘Very soon, you will be.’

That movie shows me a lot about my relationship with God. I say ‘I can’t do this’ and he says ‘You’ve got to start somewhere.’ I say ‘This is not who I am.’ He says ‘I know. It’s who you’re becoming.’ You can’t argue with someone calling you to be more than you are. You either get mad and give up, or you get mad and get through it.

Lately he’s been giving me opportunities to show I really do have a spine under this jellyfish exterior, calling on me to act when I’d rather lounge, and to talk when I’d rather keep quiet. Every time you choose to do what you don’t want to do when you know it’s the right thing to do, you grow stronger. And as those experiences pile up, you become something much more than you were.

The 13th Warrior ends with Ahmed narrating. ‘Across seas of monsters and forests of demons we traveled. Praise be to Allah, the merciful and compassionate. May his blessing be upon pagan men who loved other gods, who shared their food and shed their blood, that his servant, Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan, might become a man and a useful servant of God.’