Remember the final scene of Gladiator when Maximus is chained and is confronted by the Emperor? The Emperor asks him if he fears anything. Maximus says “I once knew a man who said death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back!”
I have pondered that line quite often. What is the takeaway? I believe it is a hidden character trait of great men from a bygone era. In today’s world the majority of men are weak. Weak fathers, weak athletes, weak husbands, weak employees, weak men in general. History is full of great men who faced “death”, whether real or hypothetical and stared it down to achieve greatness. Patton, Eisenhower, Reagan, Lombardi, any man who confronted an issue that required his absolute dedication to success and victory is this hero I am speaking about. It could be the man who works 12 hours a day to provide for his family while putting his own desires on the back burner, it could be the athlete who trains relentlessly to achieve his goals while never compromising his values, it could be the man who loves his wife and stays dedicated to her until death smiles at him, or the man who trains his children in the way that they should go.
We, as men, all have the opportunity to smile back at death each and every day of our lives. The question is will we cower in the face of it and become weak and robotic or will we smile back, powerfully, and make our mark on society. The choice is ours as long as God grants us breath! Be a Maximus and not a Commodus!