From Braveheart, this is toward the end when Wallace is about to be betrayed again by Robert the Bruce, though Bruce wasn’t actually in on the betrayal this time. Hamish is trying to talk Wallace out of going to meet Bruce and the other nobles because he smells a trap.
William: Look at this. We’ve got to try. We can’t do this alone. Joining the nobles is the only hope for our people. You know what happens if we don’t take that chance?
William: Nothing. (walks back to his horse)
Hamish: I don’t want to be a martyr.
William: Nor I. I want to live. I want a home, and children, and peace.
Hamish: Do ya?
William: Aye, I do. I’ve asked God for these things. It’s all for nothing if you don’t have freedom.
Right there at the end was the part that really jumped out to me… the whole “I’ve asked God for these things…” part.
I’m no Wallace, but I connected with him in his desire for status quo “life”. He wanted the “good life” as much as the next guy… but the situation called for something different. The situation called for war, not rest.
Early in the movie, when he returns to his homeland for the first time as an adult and starts rebuilding his home in hopes of courting a love and starting a family, men of the town appealed to him to join a revolt against the English. He wasn’t interested, though. He saw what fighting did to his father (it killed him) and didn’t desire a premature death. He wanted love and security.
Many years and many bloody battles later, he still had that same desire. “I want to live. I want a home, and children, and peace… I’ve asked God for these things.” he says. But in his asking, God showed him something. He showed him “It’s all for nothing if you don’t have freedom.”
On an utterly minute scale, I guess that’s kinda where I’m at. I want all that stuff… but more than anything I want true freedom–in my life, in the life of my friends and family, in the state of Michigan. It’s not that these interests are necessarily mutually exclusive for everyone, but I think some are called to fight for one before they can experience the other. And in the case of Wallace and many other warrior poets, some are called to die for one so others can experience the other.
Yet, even though my inner man wants to pursue that freedom with all the barbaric tenacity displayed my Wallace and the Scots, and written of by Erwin McManus in The Barbarian Way, I find my outer man still much like the Wallace of early in the movie, perched atop an old thatched-roof house, preparing and hoping for “home, and children, and peace.”
It’s not that Wallace was wrong is doing so. It’s just that the times called for war. And that war found him soon enough.