It’s so important to tell stories.
It’s in the telling of the stories that we find out who we are.
It’s in the telling of the story that we find out who we can be.
Out of all the great conversations in the Lord of the Rings, one stands out strongly in my mind.
It is the kind of conversation one has with their nearest friend and confident.
This conversation happens to be about story.
Let me set the scene for you.
Frodo is well into the process of taking the One ring to destroy it in the fires of Mordor.
Frodo knows the truth of what must be done, while he also knows that he is exhausted.
Frodo would much rather quit, go back home to the Shire, and have everything be the same was it was.
Sam’s words of story encourage him on to finish his task.
Here is that conversation;
Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.
Sam: 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? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? 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 meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. 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.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.
Your own story may be similar.
Of course you don’t have a powerful ring to destroy in the fires of Mordor. That’s pure fantasy.
What you may have, probably have, is a story where insecurities and uncertainties surround you.
Perhaps in your childhood, you never really “fit in”, so you felt the sting of rejection. Maybe you still do.
Perhaps people made promises that they never kept, so you felt suspicion when anyone promised you anything. Maybe even now you can’t seem to trust anyone.
Perhaps you didn’t receive the love and care that you so desperately needed. Your heart continues in the pain of abandonment.
Perhaps people in your past told you things about yourself. That you were stupid, or lazy, or foolish, or any number of cruel things, and you believed them. Your perception of yourself is still that way.
Perhaps the people in your life, who were supposed to protect you, didn’t. Maybe they were the ones who hurt you the most. The stab of betrayal may still be alive and well in your heart.
If any of these story lines belong to you, please let me say I am so sorry.
Your story should have been better. Not a nightmarish fantasy. Your story should have given you a better sense of yourself. Your true self. Created by a God who loves you. Created for a specific purpose.
Remember Sam’s words~
“And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? 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 meant something, even if you were too small to understand why.”
To be sure, things cannot go back to the way they were, back before the trouble. Time has gone on too for that. That would be fantasy.
But here’s what I know for sure.
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