We live in a real world…a harsh world. A world of money, injustice and struggle. For every good there are a thousand ills. For every privilege, a thousand difficulties. For every success, a thousand challenges. For every moment of peace and joy, a thousand moments of unrest.
And yet lives are lived, and lives are shared, and big dreams pursued every day with small steps, sometimes uncertain, sometimes bold, on paths bathed in light, and on paths that rival the hell of Mordor.
And there are happy endings, which in themselves are actually new beginnings. And people smile, and hold hands, and come home.
Sometimes the only things we have at our disposal to answer the how in a situation are love and hope. Not blind hope, but trusting and knowing hope, the kind that comes from the wisdom of gratitude for a chance at living, for the fact that we can even contemplate a future, and for the option of a positive perspective no matter how dire the circumstances might appear in the moment.
The answer to how is always in the why…and because love is at the core of why, it always saves the day.
Like Frodo, at some point in our lives, or maybe on several occasions, we stand as he did, looking out at what’s ahead, and wondering how on earth is one little creature like ourselves, carrying whatever heavy burden we have to carry, going to realistically make it through.
And in those moments, anger and despair rejoice, for they get to fly high and spread their dark wings over us as far as our eyes can see and souls can reach.
But, Frodo was not alone. And if we are so lucky, we too had or have our own version of Samwise Gamgee…someone who stands by our side and is willing to walk with us, through the hell of Mordor and beyond if need be.
“I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy?….But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer.
Those were the stories that stayed with you. That mean something…Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
(What are we holding onto Sam?)
That there’s some good in this world Mr. Frodo…and it’s worth fighting for.”
And so it is with love, and wisdom, and stories that really matter.
And as it turns out, the stories that matter most tend to take quite a few detours through Mordor-like landscapes. I have no clue why that seems to be the case, but I have a feeling that without an opportunity to be tested, we would never experience the thrill of discovering courage when we are most afraid, strength when we are weakest, faith when we are most in doubt, and love when we are least able to recognize it or accept it.
And all these things make for quite the story…every time.