In the comfort of Rob and Joy’s living room we caught the conclusion of the 1980 movie, Raging Bull, with Robert DeNiro in the lead role as prize fighter Jake LaMatta. Jake is in front of a mirror practicing the Marlon Brando scene from the 1954 movie On the Waterfront based on the Tennessee Williams play by the same name. Both movies have significant plot lines around the relationships between brothers. The Brando portrayal is a classic and so full of emotion.

In both stories, brothers find themselves conflicted. The love they have from being blood relatives is challenged by a crisis in trust. DeNiro’s Jake in Raging Bull is full of anger over what he convinces himself is disloyalty from his brother. In On the Waterfront the poignant scene in the back of a Taxi with Brando’s character and his brother Charley is about a realization of brotherly betrayal over time. Both stories, each in their own way illustrate how important family is and how devastating it is when relationships break down for whatever reason.

My recent business trip to the Dallas was a great excuse to make time for my own brother and his family. The really great thing about Rob and his wife Joy is how easily they accommodate and welcome me (whether it has been 30 days or 2 years since my last visit). It is also terrific to spend some time with Megan (home from college), Tara (college bound next year) and Kevin (on summer break from high school).

If you get a chance, I hope you can watch Raging Bull and/or On the Waterfront with your brother, sister, spouse, or close friend and be happy for the love and trust you share. Don’t take it for granted, it is a gift.

- Optimistic Contributor Wes Morgan: originally posted November 10, 2010