Monday, March 18, 2013

A day of rest...and Lord of the Rings

Today was supposed to be a day of rest-and-putting-a-stop-to-this-bladder-flare.  I did clean, but just a bit.  Swept the floor, tidied the kitchen, did some laundry.  I blew the dust off the television.  So that doesn't really count.  I made bagels.  I shoved horse-sized worm pills down the throats of two indignant cats, which was way more fun than one person should get to experience. All in all, it was a light day.

I tried to write the blog post that I've been thinking about for the past few days, the one based on the image of Jesus that I found, but it just wasn't happening.  Sometimes blogging is like that.

I did take a nap and I watched Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring (for the umpteenth time). Does that count as rest? I think it does, up until the part where Boromir gets killed and I got all weepy and sobbled on Schmitty and that didn't feel quite restful.  I'm still in bladder pain, but I don't feel so wiped. So, I guess it was a good day.

*Caution - the rest of this post is Lord of the Rings heavy, and contains some spoilers if you haven't seen the movies or read the books.  Hopefully you'll get the basic idea of what I am saying, but you still should probably go rent the movies or buy the books or something. Seriously.* 

You know, when I initially watched the Lord of the Rings movies, read the books and fell head-over-heels into the Ringer world, Boromir was the first character to catch my heart.  I loved his strength. And his vulnerability.  He was so flawed, and yet his desire for the power of the ring was rooted in his belief that the salvation of his world was on his shoulders.  He was faced with a task that he knew, in his inner being, was too big for him.  Therein lay the temptation to believe the lie that he, above all other men, could handle the power of the ring and turn it to his will.  He believed he could because he believed that he had to.  He saw no other way.

How many times do we fall into that trap?  When we take on responsibilities that are not our own, when we allow pride or desperation to trick us into thinking that everything is on our shoulders, that all will be lost if we fail, that we are alone and responsible for things outside of our control, when we are convinced that doing our best just isn't going to be is so easy to start to compromise our faith, our beliefs, what we know to be true.  We forget that we have a God who is bigger than we are, that each person in our lives owns their own "stuff" and is responsible for their own feelings, thoughts and actions.  That sometimes we have to fail so that someone else finds their own way.  That it really isn't all about us. We can see that we have a role to play in this journey, and even if we don't know exactly what that role is, we can pretty much rest assured that the fate of the entire world doesn't rest on our shoulders. Whew.

When Boromir fell into the power of temptation, tried to take the ring from Frodo and forced Frodo to put the ring on to escape, he saw the truth about the ring, and about himself.  And I love that.  Having fallen, having put into play events that he could then never change, he cried out for forgiveness, lifted himself from the forest floor and ran back into the battle.  He fought with bravery and a power born from love restored to him by the truth.  Confessing his weaknesses and failures did not further weaken him.  It returned to him his love for his friends and it filled him with strength.

I admire Boromir because when he failed, he quickly admitted it, asked forgiveness and continued on.  What a gift that is.  He gave his life in honor and glory, in defense of the hobbits that he loved and sought to protect. That, to me, is heroic.

There is a deep, powerful strength that comes from being vulnerable enough to admit when we are wrong.  When we are weak.  I see that same power and strength in many of my friends, who humbly confess their weakness and dependence on God, relying on His forgiving love and mercy to help them move forward on a journey that is much too large for them. These dear ones inspire me to be the same, to relax in my weakness, to confess how much I need God's help and forgiveness, to trust Him for new strength each day, each moment.  And to keep moving forward.

I am grateful for a God that offers grace and mercy each and every time I seek Him for it, and for people in my life who continually reach out to me and point me to Him when I need help on the journey.  I'm also grateful for the brilliance of authors who create characters like Boromir, authors who understand that true heroes aren't perfect.  True heroism allows God to transform pain into compassion.  Failure into wisdom. Brokenness into gentleness. Flaws into humility.  And loss into love.

Just a thought.

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