"I'M A GOOD MAN": THE ANTWONE FISHER STORY
I was watching one of my favorite all time movies last week, The Antwone Fisher Story. I love this movie for several reasons. First because it is based on the real life of Antwone Fisher, a fellow Clevelander, second because it portrays the pain of a man who was emotionally handicapped as a child but rose beyond his history to produce for himself a great future. And third because Denzel Washington had a starring role and this movie was his directorial debut.
However its not just the movie's plot that captured my attention but the sheer magnitude of Antwone Fisher's life and the horrors that he was exposed to as a young child. It wasn't what Antwone went through that impacts me but how he came out of it. Many men have gone through horrifying events in their past and remain trapped in the prisons of their yesterdays. Antwone Fisher is not one of those men.
In the movie we see Antwone's past eclipsing his present and almost ruining his career in the United States Navy. Before he was unceremoniously discharged from the Navy for his violent tendencies and uncontrolled anger Antwone is sent to Doctor Jerome Davenport, Played by Denzel, a Navy phychiatrist. With Dr. Davenport counseling him Antwone faces the roots of his anger and discovers the cause of his inadequacies. Antwone confronts his past and realizes what he must do to secure a new future with a new behavior system in place . With his girlfriend Cheryl Antwone returns to Cleveland to find his family. He locates his aunt which leads him to meeting his mother for the first time.
The two scenes that always moves me are at the end of the movie. In one scene Antwone is sitting on a couch with his mother pouring his heart to her when he says, "I am a good man." Whenever I hear Derek Luke, who played Antwone, say that it moves me. Here is a man who was forsaken by his mother. Was left to be raised by people who scarred him emotionally, sexually, and physically. Here is a man who reaches within himself and declares that in spite of everything that he went through he knows this about himself, he is a good man. He is valuable man, He is man that is useful to society. He is the best that he can be. And even though no one ever affirmed he affirmed himself. "I am a good man." That's an affirmation that every man needs to make about himself. No matter what has happened in your life you are a good man because God created you in his image and when God looked at you He saw that you were good. See yourself as God sees you.
The second scene that moves me is the final scene where Antwone thanks Dr. Davenport for helping him by motivating him to find his family. And Dr. Davenport looks at Antwone and says, "You are the champ, you have beaten everyone who has beaten you." The Antwone Fisher story is a story about a man who should have been defeated and diminished by everything that he went through but instead he is a champion. He is a winner. He fought the hard fight of looking back at his yesterday, discovering what was pulling him down and then moving on to discover the missing link to his past. Having done that he could march with confidence into his future. What makes a man a champ is not getting in the fight. It's not being beaten in the fight but it's fighting until you have beaten everyone and everything that has beaten you. Paul told Timothy to fight the good fight of faith. I challenge you to do the same thing. Fight whatever beat you down and caused you to give up hope. Fight your past. Fight rejection and depression. Fight loss and pain. Fight!
Thank you Antwone for sharing your life with us. You are a champion and you inspire all of us to beat everyone and everything that has beaten us.