Fullmetal Alchemist: There’s No Such Thing As A Painless Lesson

“There’s no such thing as a painless lesson—they just don’t exist. Sacrifices are necessary. You can’t gain anything without losing something first. Although if you can endure that pain and walk away from it, you’ll find that you now have a heart strong enough to overcome any obstacle. Yeah… a heart made Fullmetal.”
Edward Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist

No one likes pain. No one likes to make sacrifices, but when it comes down to it, we realize that they are a necessity in achieving our goals. Recently, I just suddenly started thinking about Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, one of the best anime that I’ve ever watched (Fullmetal Alchemist would be the manga equivalent). I think about all the sacrifices and struggles that Edward and Alphonse Elric suffered throughout the course of the series in order to reach their goal: getting Al’s body back. How did this all happen?

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Let’s provide a brief backstory: After the passing of their mother, Ed and Al use a forbidden alchemy method called transmutation as an attempt to bring their mother back. They end up bringing back a body that wasn’t their mother, and Al loses his body in the process, while Ed loses an arm and a leg.

So what happens throughout the process that Ed and Al take to reach their goal? Friends die. Enemies die. Hearts break. Blood drips. People close to them are always at risk. But why? Because they (being Winry, Roy, Hawkeye, etc.)  have a strong love for the Elric brothers, which is why they are willing to do whatever it takes.

Ed firmly stated that pain and sacrifices are what made him stronger. If people like Winry are the ones making the sacrifices, is Ed actually losing anything? Absolutely. I believe that he felt every amount of suffering that those who fought for him did. Ed carries the pain of others on himself because he personally feels that no one should help him; he had to be the one making up all of his mistakes. But accepting all this help causes him to endure a pain that is almost unbearable. Why? Because that’s just how he is. Because he cares.

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He believes that his heart is strong enough to overcome any obstacle. Once one endures through a struggle that tears one at the heart, it’s highly probable that he or she will leave the incident a more formidable person because of the pain they’ve managed to undergo. Ever heard of the phrase “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”? That’s exactly how this all applies. Suffer. Endure. And finish strong. A heart made “fullmetal” likely doesn’t mean a heart that is emotionless but rather a heart of strength and purity. We have been challenged by the Truth. We have been challenged by God. And we made it.

In real life, how are people challenged? How do people learn their lessons? Friendship breakups? Relationship failures? Death of loved ones even? In many cases that I’ve seen, one will learn the lesson, but only after drowning in their own tears, or having deep regret over their actions. A fine example of this is like wishing those were not the last words you ever said to that loved one because you didn’t know that would have been the last time you saw him or her. Just remember. Though you may learn your lesson, you want to be completely void of ever having to face problems like this. On the upside, there are sacrifices you have to make in sports or music if you wanna get better. You have to sacrifice hours of your time, but because of those hours, you will become much more refined.

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Success lies at the end of the path of sacrifices.

~Dennis

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