One of my favorite parts of the movie A Knight’s Tale is when Jocelyn tells Will he must lose his jousts to prove his love for her. He tells her he will not lose, but when the time comes, he just sits there on his horse and lets his opponents use him for a target. I’m a romantic, so I liked this part of the movie before really thinking about it, but I’ve come to see it as a parable of sorts about what love is, and that makes me like it even more.
Both Jocelyn and Will have a real understanding of love. Love is about losing. Love is about giving up what you want, and selflessly doing what someone else wants. Will realized if he won all his tournaments but lost Jocelyn, none of those wins would matter. Losing gained him the real prize.
It’s not easy to lose. It’s not easy to say “I’m sorry” instead of making excuses, especially good excuses. It’s not easy to say “I forgive you” instead of insisting restitution is made first. It’s not easy to say “I love you” when that means giving up your free time, your peace of mind, your personal space, or your priorities, thinking priority number one is myself, and what I want. When I choose to lose what I deserve, or what the world says I deserve, because I realize the greater prize is to be obtained by losing, then I am living in love. But it’s not easy.
Falling in love is easy. Being romantic can be easy, in certain circumstances. Loving people who make reasonable demands, for logical reasons, that makes sense. But loving someone who asks you to lose everything for them? That isn’t easy. Jocelyn demands Will lose in order to prove his love for her. She wants to know how much he is willing to do for her, and how much he values her. Will does what she wants because he decides she is the better prize.
Jesus Christ says when we lose our lives for His sake we truly find them, because we have to lose everything to love Him completely. Christians talk about crucifying themselves for Christ, dying to self so they can live for Him. It’s not easy. Jesus puts the request to us, asking us to prove our love for Him, so show how much we value Him. We need to decide if He is the better prize.
Even though the loss is driven by love, that doesn’t make the losing enjoyable. It hurts. It’s humiliating. Will says he hates Jocelyn, in the middle of his trial. I don’t think that is lost on Christ, as He puts forth his request to us. What are you willing to suffer for? What are you willing to lose for? Is love so great a prize, to suffer such pain and humiliation? On screen, yes. In real life, I don’t know. Sometimes it doesn’t seem worth it. So it helps me to keep this little parable in my mind, to re-watch that scene with Will and Jocelyn, and see that he does obtain the prize in the end. I should have no regrets for losing out of love, because love is all about losing.