Since childhood I’ve always loved cinema, and a particular movie that’s stuck out to me is the 2008 Christian film Fireproof. It centers around a firefighter named Caleb who finds himself in a failing marriage and takes on a 40-day challenge to try and restore it again.
Even though I’m unmarried, I’ve always taken away a powerful message from this movie: Anyone can change themselves. Even though we’re always told that “A leopard never changes its spots,” that notion doesn’t hold.
I myself underwent a transformation similar to the one displayed by Caleb during the film and could relate almost immediately to the journey he walked from start to finish.
Before the 40-day challenge, Caleb’s shown as a rage-filled, egocentric, self-righteous person who always sees himself in the right. Towards the end of the film, though, he humbles himself. No matter how ,much disrespect he receives, he responds only with humility and morality He slowly changes inwardly and outwardly as the 40 days take their course.
This movie also showed me the joy in conquering the mundane. While we may wish for extraordinary things, sometimes making the best out of what we’re given can be just as satisfying.
Throughout the trial period, Caleb does chores and house cleaning (which he rarely used to do), begins saying hello to neighbors he never acknowledged before, runs errands, develops friendships with his fellow firefighters, and betters himself every step of the way.
Regardless of whether or not things were his fault and how good a person Caleb believed he already was, it didn’t stop him from believing he could still change for the better. Caleb pointed the finger at himself and focused on the small things he could alter in his day-to-day routine. By the end of the 40 days, he had become a completely new person.
Regardless of life status or religious background, Caleb’s journey truly is an eye-opener for anyone who’s struggling with a life that isn’t what they hoped it would be. Caleb did not blame himself or say he was a failure. Instead, he understood that he was fine as he is, but he could be better, like all of us can be. At any point in our lives, high or low, young or old, we can still change our paths.
I took that message to heart as I went through a transformation of my own. I volunteered at soup kitchens, started being more friendly to neighbors, worked harder on chores, encouraged people, and started conquering my own mundane.
Caleb’s co-worker in the film, Michael Simmons, says the line that perhaps defines the movie:
“Fireproof doesn’t mean a fire will never come, but that when it comes, you’ll be able to withstand it.”
No matter how you transform, a lot of us are still afraid of this symbolic fire burning down the things we care about and leaving a scar. There will be struggles in life, but through inward change, we can make ourselves fireproof and find a way to overcome those struggles.