Frodo, Sam, sacrifice, and contentment – relating this life to The Lord of the Rings

I know it’s a novel, and Middle Earth isn’t really real, but there are times in my life that I’ve been able to identify with Frodo and other times with Sam, and you know, those times seem to meld one with the other and back again – such is the ebb and flow of this life, and such is the nature of great literature. In the closing pages of The Lord of the Rings, Frodo and Sam exchange these words:

“But,” said Sam, and tears started in his eyes, “I thought you were going to enjoy the Shire, too, for years and years, after all you have done.”

“So I thought too, once.  But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam.  I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me.  It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.  But you are my heir: all that I had and might have I leave to you.  And also you have Rose, and Elanor; and Frodo-lad will come, and Rosie-lass, and Merry, and Goldilocks, and Pippin; and perhaps more that I cannot see.  Your hands and your wits will be needed everywhere.  You will be the Mayor, of course, as long as you want to be, and the most famous gardener in history; and you will read things out of the Red Book, and keep alive the memory of the age that is gone, so that people will remember the Great Danger and so love their beloved land all the more.  And that will keep you as busy and as happy as anyone can be, as long as your part of the Story goes on.”

Later, after Frodo has left and Sam has returned home:

At last they rode over the downs and took the East Road, and then Merry and Pippin rode on to Buckland; and already they were singing again as they went.  But Sam turned to Bywater, and so came back up the Hill, as day was ending once more.  And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected.  And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap.

He drew a deep breath.  “Well, I’m back,” he said.

If you’ve never felt like Frodo then perhaps you’ve never felt deeply enough about something that you would give yourself up for it, whatever it is.  And if you’ve never felt like Sam, then perhaps you’ve yet to learn what true contentment is, and the blessing that it is to be content with your lot in life, whatever that is.  Here’s a secret: the conviction and the courage, and the contentment and the peace, all come from God, because “from him and through him and to him are all things” (Romans 11:36).

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