Only To Do What He Could

No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me. I am naked in the dark, Sam, and there is no veil between me and the wheel of fire. I begin to see it even with my waking eyes, and all else fades.
~J.R.R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings

Frodo is a study of a hobbit broken by a burden of fear and horror— broken down, and in the end made into something quite different. Frodo undertook his quest out of love– to save the world he knew from disaster at his own expense, if he could; and also in complete humility, acknowledging that he was wholly inadequate to the task His real contract was only to do what he could, to try to find a way, and to go as far on the road as his strength of mind and body allowed. He did that.
~J.R.R. Tolkien

We are regularly called to do more than we feel capable of accomplishing. Whether we are in the midst of a crisis of confidence, feeling beaten down, physically and emotionally vulnerable, or just plain scared – it is tempting to shrink away from doing what is needed.

Our call to obedience may not be quite as dramatic as Frodo’s monumental task of saving the world from destruction by evil forces — it may simply be getting out of bed and facing the day despite pain and overwhelming sorrow — but it takes no less courage and strength.

We are equipped by the intimacy of the Word of God speaking to each of us individually, instructing us on how to live these days we are given.

Like Frodo, we are to do what we can, to find a way through darkness and fire and threat, and to go down that road as far as our minds and bodies allow. We are inadequate by ourselves, but we are bolstered by the constancy of God alongside. We never travel alone.

Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow

BriarCroft’s new Cardigan Welsh Corgi puppy Samwise Gamgee  or “Sam”

Naming a new puppy is almost as important as naming a child.  The difference is that a puppy needs a “call” name that will be an invisible leash for the rest of their lives, bringing them running whenever they hear it.  Ideally,  children will outgrow their invisible leash,  but never dogs.

A new puppy at the farm means finding that right name that will be the connection between dog and family.   For our 9 week old Cardigan Welsh Corgi, it is “Sam”  –named for Frodo’s steadfast and loyal companion Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings.  A Corgi is definitely hobbit-like, from their short legs to their hairy toes to their pointy ears.  We lost our older dog Frodo to cancer a few months ago, so this new Sam, as in the classic tale,  will carry on where Frodo could not.  We feel it fits this little fellow quite well and look forward to our journey together.  Thank you to Dune Cardigans for Sam.

Sam saves Frodo numerous times in the Trilogy, staying with him even though he believes Frodo dead:  “Don’t leave me here alone. Don’t go where I can’t follow.”

In other memorable exchanges:

Sam: Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It’ll be spring soon. And the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they’ll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields… and eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?

Frodo: No, Sam. I can’t recall the taste of food… nor the sound of water… nor the touch of grass. I’m… naked in the dark, with nothing, no veil… between me… and the wheel of fire! I can see him… with my waking eyes!

Sam: Then let us be rid of it (the ring)… once and for all! Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can’t carry it for you… but I can carry you!

“There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.”

quotes from from The Lord of the Rings (movie)

photo courtesy of Stonelight Cardigans

Speaking of  the “wheel of fire”, not everyone on the farm is happy about the new puppy:

Jose is definitely annoyed.

Really really annoyed!


Do You Remember?

“Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It’ll be spring soon. And the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they’ll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields… and eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?”
―  J.R.R. Tolkien

In our despairing moments, we recollect and hold on to memories most precious to us, recalling what makes each moment, indeed life itself,  special and worthwhile.  It can be something so seemingly simple that becomes the most cherished and retrievable–the aroma of cinnamon in a warm kitchen, the splash of colors in a carefully tended garden spot, the cooing of mourning doves as light begins to dawn, the velvety soft of a newborn foal’s fur, the embrace of welcoming arms.

Today, as our family once again heads to two cemeteries to honor our dead, it is those simple things we will recall and treasure, pass on in stories, and never leave buried in the ground.  The legacy of these memories lives and thrives in the next and then the next generation, to be told and retold, not to rest, eventually to be forgotten, under a marker.

Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo?  Do you remember?