Love Like a Gladiator
By Timothy W. Tron
My writing always begins with prayer, seeking guidance from God. To this end, an element of love seemed to permeate the message received from Him recently. However, it was not the notion of love that we might want to express, but rather how it was portrayed that bothered me. It was definitely not the greatest commandment sort of concept, which is “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” but rather, was a theme from a movie, one that I had to watch once again – “Gladiator.”
Now you say, “How and why Gladiator?”
During the recent holiday break, my life had wound down enough that finally, there was time to return to something that felt like it had slipped away – writing. For some time, I had wanted to continue the story of Jakob and Arktos in the Children of the Light series. But each attempt to start just didn’t feel right; it always felt forced, not natural. When I write, it is almost always as if God is leading me. So, as in all things, I lifted the beginning of a third book up to God, if it was ever meant to be. In time, when it was right, He would tell me when to start. So, it was in this recent break that one morning I woke up to an idea and new vision of something that sparked the story. So, like a madman chasing after a passing train, attempting to grab the tail of it before it escaped, I raced to the keyboard and began typing it down. It wasn’t long, and suddenly there it was before me, like a belated Christmas present, the first chapter had been carved out.
For many people, those who are actual novelists, writing is something they do with a preconceived format and plan. They’ve learned the pedagogy and skills from an institution of higher learning that are needed to create masterful works of art. Their works are published willingly by agreeable literary agents. For some, we just put down on paper whatever comes to mind. For me, it is more of the latter, but with a twist – I literally become one with the story, living in the presence of those characters that come alive within the pages of the book. When it starts, it is sometimes difficult to accept the world around me as it is. To understand, one must know the people of whom my novels are about, the ancient people of the valleys, more commonly known as the ancient Waldensians. They not only memorized the Word of God, but they lived it out each day in their lives.
The more one writes about their story, the more one becomes one with them, and with God. My telling of their story takes place in Pre-Medieval times. But to continue would detract from explaining the “how and why,” so we’ll pause at this point and resume with the why.
As mentioned, living in the book’s pages, one becomes more comfortable when surrounded by similar things or places. So when the writing of the book begins, it’s back to those movies and other forms of input that dwell with a similar timeframe – the time of medieval Europe and the Celtic barbarians. Thus, this past weekend I found myself watching once more one of my favorite movies, “Gladiator.” As is with most anything that we return to repeatedly, we usually find or see something that heretofore was missed.
So it was with the recent return.
Now to get to the “how.”
In the movie, the much respected and honored general of Caesars’ northern armies, Maximus, played by Russel Crowe, had just defeated the last of the barbarian armies. There could now be peace. When asked by the aging Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, played by the late Richard Harris, “When was the last time you were home?” Maximus replies, “Two years, two hundred and sixty-four days and this morning.” Even in the face of battle, before the armies attacked one another, Maximus had a vision of walking in the wheat fields of his farm, returning home to his loves, his wife, and son. His driving force for survival was based on his heart-wrenching love of his family to which he had been kept away because of his commitment to his country and his Emperor. To Maximus, the gods to whom he worshipped as a faithful Roman were beneath his love of his wife and son. One cannot help to empathize as such; to want to return to one’s family after serving in the military is a feeling that sometimes all a man has left of himself. But when we live a life based on anything but God, we miss the mark of what real love is about. But this is not meant to detract from the love of one’s family, only to emphasize the magnitude of what it is to truly love God as Jesus had commanded.
Jesus told his disciples, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
To know God’s unfiltered, unbridled, unconditional love is to know that we cannot love Him more, for He first loved us. When we realize this, when we come to know that there is no greater love than anything or anyone can have for us, then we can begin to understand how everything else pales in comparison. When we make God the center of our lives, everything else becomes secondary, but let not that sound crass to your ears. When we live in the love of God, we then can love others as he first loved us. It is then, our own love for our wife, our children become amplified, if you will, by God’s love. In our relationships and marriages, when we all strive to serve God, to seek Him as one, we too come closer in our love not only for Him but for one another.
This is true love.
When we come to be one with Jesus Christ, we are assured that our eternal life begins when our time on earth ends. Jesus assured his disciples that, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Our assurance of seeing our loved ones again, including Jesus, is told to us through His Word, the Comforter. But unlike a pagan belief, we are not assured of gaining Heaven without making a choice in this life. To love as He hath loved us is to give us His only son so that whosoever believeth in Him shall everlasting life. There on the cross, God’s only son endured the wrath that was meant for us. He who lived a life without sin bore the sin of all humanity that was, and that would ever be. So, it is by the choice you make that will determine your eternal fate – to accept Christ into your life, to turn away from and to confess your sins, and to believe that he arose from the grave to ascend up to Heaven to sit at His Father’s right hand.
The decision is up to you.
No one hath ever, nor will ever love you more.
Thanks be to God.
Timothy W. Tron lives in Collettsville, NC. with his family. He is currently the Systems Administrator for the Computer Science Department at App. State. Timothy is the former Director of the Trail of Faith in Valdese, where he still volunteers and helps with tours. He is the author of a new Christian series, “Children of the Light”, with the first book being, “Bruecke to Heaven”, revised as “Bridge to Heaven”, and his recent book, being the second, “The Light in the Darkness”. He is an active blogger, artist, and musician. Timothy also has a BSEE from UF, and is a Lay Speaker. He is currently acting as the Faculty/Staff Liaison for the Ratio Christi campus ministry at App. State. He can be reached at email@example.com You can visit his website at //www.timothywtron.com/ or see more of his writings HERE