Sometimes, in life, you miss the mark. You fail a test, get rejected for a research proposal, or miss picking up Oni Genji during the seasonal event. You might be turned down for a date or miss out on a cool job opportunity because you thought something else was better at the time. When that sort of thing happens, it hurts, but that hurt doesn’t have to define us. In fact, it can make us stronger.
Now, you might think I’m silly, working Oni Genji into a post about pain and brokenness. You’d have reason to think so, but bear with me – Genji’s story is important here, and so is Hanzo’s. Here you have a man who was left for dead by his brother, who somehow survived, but was left broken and without a working body. Yet as we see him now he is remade, reconstructed from nothing into something. Did you catch the order? Nothing comes before something. You have to be broken down before you can be built back up, and it is that process of reforging that makes a man stronger.
Let me give you another story I like – the story of Anduril. In The Lord of the Rings, Anduril is the sword wielded by Aragorn, the sword of the kings of Gondor. But it was not always so. In fact, it was once Narsil, the blade that cut the ring from Sauron’s hand. In the movie adaptions, that blade is shattered by Sauron and taken to Rivendell, where it sits for three thousand years as nothing but a broken heirloom, a symbol of a time long past and a line that has long since faded. It is an item of glory, but its glory is long since diminished, and with it the glory of Numenor and the kings of old.
Yet Narsil’s story doesn’t end here. It is taken up by Elrond, king of the elves, and reforged into the mighty Anduril, the Flame of the West. Remade and reforged, it sets out with Aragorn across the vast reaches of Middle Earth, aiding him in battle and striking fear into the heart of the Dark Lord himself. From broken heirloom to the blade of the King, this is a story of redemption, and it is symbolic of the larger redemption undergone by the peoples of Middle Earth and the kings of Gondor, whose time has come. Anduril’s story is one about all of us – about how being broken isn’t the end, but only the beginning.
Remember how I told you that Hanzo’s story would be important? Well, here it is – Hanzo is broken. He believed for years that he had killed his brother, and he still believes that his sin is unpardonable. He thinks he is damned for what he has done, that there is no hope for him. But you and I know better. We both know he’s not the worthless murderer that he thinks he is. We know he’s something more than that, and Genji does too. That’s why he confronts Hanzo. That’s why he tells him there is still hope. Because there’s still more to the story. It isn’t finished yet. And just like Genji’s sudden reappearance can change Hanzo’s world, life will often throw us curveballs good as well as bad. What we make of them is up to us.