December 30th, 2003

It’s significant to note that I had never read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Everything I knew of the story I knew through the movies (only two of which had been released just prior to this point in 2003). While I was grappling with the idea that my role in life may be one like Sam Wise Gamgee’s, I had no idea how the rest of the story played out. In fact, part of the disappointment I felt (but never bothered to write much about) was that God had apparently cast me in a classic “supporting role”…the second guy, the one who doesn’t get the girl, the one whose job it is to be rescued by the REAL hero. Playing this role was a sort of on-going trap in my mind. I thought that learning to accept that role was the best I could do; learn to trust God with the role he assigned me; to expect a deep resonance with my role was asking too much.

I cannot express how completely shocked I was upon seeing the third movie. I was moved, thrilled, terrified and humbled. As I recall, writing the first sentence of this post was simply a necessary short hand meant to contain all the wonder, joy and sense of worship I felt that God had been slowly but firmly drawing me into a story that I did not understand the scope of, but could not help but feel. That God was weaving together a story that I didn’t just need to learn how to accept, but a story that I could fully embrace. It was all just too much and so I had to compress it into 4 words: “Sam got the girl!” The rest of the post sounds morose, but really it wasn’t. Think “catharsis” as you read it. Even as I re-read it now, the sense of solid truth (not being who we are MADE to be is a tragedy for ALL) and the warm embrace of a forgiving God make me want to be in that place again.

Sam got the girl! Saw the third movie in the Lord of the Rings series on Christmas day. I’ve been waiting since August to see where Sam ends up. When Frodo can no longer continue, Sam carries him up the slope of Mt. Doom.

Sam: “the fat one” as Gallum calls him. He never thinks of himself…well almost never, and when he does, it’s in the most self-deprecating fashion. He is a servant. I don’t feel anything like a servant. I feel like everything is centered on me. Everything I do is about me…I’m busy, I’m tired, I’m sad, I’m hungry (well I want to eat). I’m not interested in intimacy, so Brenda is denied intimacy. I’m not interested in spending any time with you, God, and so…what happens then? It’s not like you suffer…do you? Well I guess between Hebrews 9:26 and the idea that you exist outside time, in a way – you are always suffering, aren’t you?

Oh God, I have sinned against you. Please forgive me.

I can see “Silas” the character in “The DaVinci Code” who is a member of an obscure disciplinarian sect of the Catholic church. The author describes him whipping himself – trying to grasp the pain that Christ felt – purging himself, drawing his own blood. There is a part of that which is so attractive…to even the score with you God – to get out of debt somehow by drawing my own blood – by giving up some of what you did.

I see myself kneeling on a straw mat like Silas, whipping my own back with a knotted cord and with every stroke, with every stunning sting, feeling my guilt modulated. Every sound of “crack!” against my flesh represents one more stone placed on the scale, slowly bringing into balance the debt I owe you. I feel a lightness that accompanies the feeling of blood trickling down my back…”I’ll soon be free!”

Oh God, I confess…it is not YOU I am desperate for. It is my independence I am desperate for my concept of freedom…I want to be free, I want to be God….I still want to be God. I want to be worshipped – I want people to raise their hands to ME…I want to gaze out on throngs of adoring worshipers, I want the women to want me, I want the men to bow down, I want the children to clamor for me…I want to be God…finally that’s all I want isn’t it?…I want to be the center of the universe.

I am the biggest idolater in the world. Oh God, please forgive me. Please guide me on the path: to HUMILITY, PATIENCE and FAITH.

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