As autumn arrives, I find myself with little energy or enthusiasm. I have responsibilities, work to do, and practices to return to but lack the desire to do any of it. I don’t see a clear path forward as Covid continues to threaten and restrict. It bugs me that six hundred million dollars was spent on a federal election that didn’t change much.
This past weekend, our grandson invited us to join him for a Lord of the Rings movie-watching marathon. For three days, we accompanied Frodo on his journey to Mount Doom to dispose of the treacherous ring.
The scene that haunts me most is the sacrifice of Faramir in The Return of the King. Denethos, the ruling steward of Gondor, indulges himself with a meal of wine, fresh fruit and meat while the army he sent into battle, led by his son Faramir, faces certain defeat. While he eats, Pippen sings reluctantly for Denethos at his request. Scenes change from the crushing battle, to Pippen sorrowfully singing, to Gandalf sitting helpless, to Denethos eating heartlessly.
Denethos never does snap out of the spell that has trapped him in self-absorbed darkness. Thankfully, Faramir survives.
Why does this scene bother me so much? I think it’s because it shows the stark reality that, as humans, we’re all capable of such evil. Denethos could have stopped this tragedy, but he didn’t. He couldn’t becuase his heart had grown hard.
The movie’s pathos overly dramatizes my transient feelings. Yet, I recognize a disconnect and lethargy in me and fear what I will become if I give in to it.
Perhaps God, with the wisdom and kindness of Gandalf, is gently calling me back to the world and my place in it. Perhaps, like Merry and Pippen, I’ve had time to play, and now it’s time to attend to my tasks. Frodo was given his, and I’ve been given mine. No one can do them for us. They are ours and ours alone to complete.
Find me in the darkness, Lord.
Open my eyes to see you.
Give me the strength to move through the acedia,
so I can take my place, and do good.
Home is behind the world ahead
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadow to the edge of night
Until the stars are all alight.
Mist and shadow
Cloud and shade
All shall fade
All shall fade
–Pippen’s Song from The Return of the King
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September 30 is Orange Shirt Day. and Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Put on your orange shirt, and open your heart. How is God inviting you to participate in our calling to hear the truth, reconcile, and live justly and kindly?