Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Inspirations June 7, 2009

At least once a year my husband and I pull out the Lord of the Rings trilogy. There are times it can take us up to a month to watch the entire thing, as being busy parents/people doesn’t exactly allow for a solid 12 hours of free time.

We just finished watching it again, and I found myself contemplating heroes. Certainly this movie is full of them, men and women alike. Not to mention dwarves, elves, wizards and hobbits.

As we’ve watched these movies over the years, I find myself drawn most to a gentle hobbit (a hobbit is a “little person” – even littler than dwarves). He is not the sort of individual who draws attention. Instead he enjoys remaining in the background, content in tending his gardens, and taking much pleasure in the joys and successes of others.

Until, that is, he is thrown into a most extraordinary journey. His dearest friend, Frodo, has been asked to take on a most impossible job – return a Ring of Power back to where it was made in the hopes of releasing the entire world of Middle Earth from the threat of utter and complete corruption. It is in Frodo we find ourselves at first drawn, for he is the one asked to bear this heavy burden. And truly he is a hero. His heart is pure, his courage ever-growing, and his compassion a blessing.

But in the end it isn’t enough. He still succumbs to the power and influence of the Ring. It is only through the actions of a tortured and lost soul that Frodo at last finds himself freed of the unyielding grip of the Ring.

Though at first my thoughts and heart are tied up in Frodo’s awesome journey, it wasn’t too long before young mister Samwise Gamgee stole my fervent allegiance.

Sam was given a specific job to do when he and Frodo set off to accomplish their task: don’t leave him, their wizard friend cautioned in regards to Frodo. And he didn’t. Well, maybe once. But it didn’t take him long to recognize his mistake and do his best to rectify his wrongs. This didn’t come without consequences however, which he realizes when he believes his friend to be dead. Sam immediately takes the responsibility upon himself, and, while cradling his fallen friend in his arms, utters the most heart wrenching words, “Don’t go where I can’t follow.”

Throughout the movie we see Sam’s extraordinary strength of character and loyalty. He would walk into the depths of hell itself if it meant protecting his friends. Yet he is so humble he rarely even believes the good words said about him, though he delights in them.

For me the most remarkable presentation of the strong spirit held within the tiny body of Samwise comes near the end of the entire story. He and Frodo are exhausted. They are past starving. Their bodies have endured more than any hobbit – or man – could possibly comprehend. Their journey has cost them their friends, their homes, and will most likely demand their lives as well.

The two little men have collapsed at the base of Mount Doom, where the Ring was first forged. Their journey is almost complete. They are so close, yet their bodies can hardly carry them another step. The weight of the Ring has become unendurable for Frodo, bringing him down in both body and spirit. Yet it is his load to carry. It is his job to achieve. Sam cannot do it for him.

Once more he takes his friend into his arms, cradling him, thinking back on the happy life they once shared. As he looks down into the hopeless face of Frodo, I believe Sam sees what might happen to everyone he loves if they do not finish what they set out to do. This is something he desperately wants to keep from happening. Yet he also sees his beloved friend cannot possibly go another step.

It is in this moment we watch the true mettle of this man.

“I cannot carry it for you,” he says, strength and resolve entering his eyes and face. “But I can carry you!”

At once we see Sam, only a moment before exhausted and broken, pick up his friend to carry him up the mountain. Step by agonizing step he continues on until at last they reach their impossible goal.

During the last year of my husband being a bishop in our church, we have watched many people suffer. They are asked to take on trials, temptations, and tests that will help them to more become the children their Heavenly Father knows they can be. They have a job to complete, a journey to take, and at times the path feels impossible.

Fortunately we are often given those to whom the Lord has said, “Don’t you leave them.” These individuals aren’t always seen. Their acts of support, protection, and kindness often go unnoticed. They love a kind word, but rarely believe it to be truth. They are content to remain in the background, doing what they can to help others carry their loads.

What magnificent people they are. Who knows what pain, what suffering, an what grief they carry when caring for loved ones. Never feeling as though they can do enough. Aching to take the load upon themselves so others do not have to suffer. Watching helplessly at times when the pain of others cannot be assuaged.

It is to the Samwise Gamgees of the world I dedicate this post today. Why? Because I dearly hope to become just like you. Your goodness, your selflessness, your service truly blesses those who are need of a loyal and trusted friend. You lift others up to heights they could never attain on their own. And when their own loads are too heavy to carry, you take them in your arms so they might finish the journey.

We have been told by our Lord and Savior it is the meek who will inherit the earth. When I think of the inner strength they carry, I can certainly see why.

1 comment:

Debbie D said...

Makes me wonder "Have I done any good in the world today?" I hope my efforts are not in vain. Side note: Though they are another 12 hours I enjoyed watching the LOTR appendices. I can't remember which disc it is, but there is a comparison of different characters and specific "battles" to OUR world history. I found this one particularly intriguing. I watched it over 4 years ago, and it is still etched in my mind. If you get the chance I highly recommend finding it. Heck, now I'm so re-excited by it I just will have to find it myself and let you know where to look. I LOVE LOTR. Thank you for your post. :)