The Lord of My Ring

ImageI fell off a dock when I was about 8 or 9.  It seemed like it was about ten feet to the water below and I was scared, so I grabbed the edge of the dock and hung on as though my life depended on it.  It really wasn’t that far down and I was a good swimmer.  Why did I do it?

I had been playing a game with myself, touching each post (or, in nautical terms, “piling”)which held up the dock as I walked along with my family.  We were on one of our many family sailing trips and were heading out for dinner.  As my family conversed, strolling down the dock, I turned to look at them, keeping the rhythm of my game.  But I missed and fell.  I clung to the dock screaming, “Help!  Help!”  My dad reached down and pulled me back up to my feet.  I was wearing just shorts and a t-shirt, so I got all scraped up and am scarred to this day.

Later, my Dad said, “Beth, why didn’t you just let yourself fall into the water?  You are a good swimmer.  You would have gotten wet but that’s better than being all scraped up.”

“I don’t know.  I was scared,” was my reply.

I remembered this event recently, after watching The Return of the King, the third of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson.  After a long, grueling journey to destroy a ring whose power brings evil forces upon the fictional land of Middle Earth, Frodo and Sam finally make it to Mount Doom.  Within the mount of doom is a firry pit which is the only entity which can destroy the ring.

Frodo and Sam rest for a moment before hiking up into the mountain wherein Sam starts remembering the pleasantries of their home, The Shire, which they’ve been away from for a very long time.  Frodo can’t remember the smells, sounds, and tastes which Sam describes so longingly.  They decide to continue on in their journey into the heart of the mountain to the Crack of Doom but Frodo is exhausted from the journey and the burden of the ring, so Sam carries him.

Reaching the top, Frodo has one last burst of energy and scrambles toward the destructive body of lava.  He holds up the ring, the burden he’s had to bear which has nearly destroyed him countless times in their journey, but he can’t throw it in.  It’s power has overtaken Frodo while Sam pleads with him to destroy it.  Just then their nemesis, Gollum, who had also been overtaken by the power of the ring many years ago, appears and struggles with Frodo in efforts to take it back.  Gollum is so desperate to get the ring he bites off Frodo’s finger which holds the ring.  They struggle and finally Frodo pushes Gollum over the edge.

Falling a far distance, Gollum is not afraid; he is too entranced in the satisfaction of holding the “precious” ring once again.  He doesn’t realize his fate until the lava begins to overtake him and he sinks to his death.  With the destruction of the ring, the mountain begins to cave all around them.

Frodo and Sam escape to a sturdy precipice where they await what they assume is their impending death.  Frodo tells Sam that he can remember, now, the things of the Shire.  Eagles swoop down, saving Frodo and Sam from death and they are returned to their friends and, eventually, to the Shire.

The entire journey, the entire 11 1/2 hours of the extended edition film series, all Frodo and his companions can think about is destroying this ring.  It is a burden.  While not a large object, it becomes personified and the weight of it nearly drives Frodo and his companions crazy; others’ desire for it nearly kills Frodo.  So why, at the hour of glory, does Frodo want to keep the ring?  Why does he hesitate to throw into into the Crack of Doom?  I think that carrying it with him for so long in this mentally, physically, and emotionally draining journey, it’s power got the better of him and he was scared to let go.

How many times have I had the chance to let go of a burden only to grab it back and say, “No!  It’s mine!”?  How many times have I been engaged with an unhealthy relationship, an unhealthy activity, an addiction, a pattern of sin which was destroying me little by little from the inside out, distancing me from God and others.  How many times have the burdens I’ve carried affected the lives of those around me; hurt the people I loved and drew them away from God, rather than pointed them toward Him?  How many times have I been playing a seemingly innocent game with my life only to let it go too far and step over the edge?

My Dad was right, if I had just let go, the water would have cushioned my fall and I could have swam safely to the shore.  If Frodo had just thrown the ring into the Crack of Doom, he wouldn’t have lost his finger.  If Gollum had realized the consequences of having possession of the ring, he wouldn’t have been forced over the edge to his death.

If we could just let go of the sin which so easily entangles us and trust our Savior, Creator, God, we could be freed of so many of our burdens and be able to experience the joys of the abundant life God gave us through the forgiveness of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Letting go is painful but not as painful as hanging on.  What burden do you need to let go of today?

If you want to reach out for help but don’t know where to turn, please contact me.

The “Sensitive” One: My Lifelong Journey of Depression

I have always been accused of being, “sensitive.”  It’s a labeled I’ve carried well just because it was how I was labeled.  It’s a label I’ve denied, trying to overcome in my own power.  It’s a label I’ve searched deep and high and far and wide for reasons and meaning.  Up and down my whole life, it’s amazing to see how many different things can contribute to my mood.  I can cry at the drop of a hat and not even know why.  I can slump into a stupor, like a vegetable on the outside but one wrongly imprisoned on the inside.Continue reading “The “Sensitive” One: My Lifelong Journey of Depression”

Washing Dishes

ImageOne thing I dislike about being married is the extra dishes in the sink.  However, one thing I really like about being married is having someone to care for.

Before I got married I didn’t really enjoy doing things around the house like cleaning the bathroom or vacuuming.  I always, always, always, detested doing the dishes but I did them anyway because, well, rotten food stinks.  I still dislike doing the dishes but now I do them for more than just the smell of a clean kitchen.  I do the dishes because my husband works really hard, comes home really tired.  The only reason I could ever like doing dishes or cleaning the bathroom is because it is a way I can serve the man that works so hard to provide the bulk of our income.  I feel very fortunate that I can work part time and spend the rest of my time keeping the house, or as I like to say, “doing wifely things.”

This week we are moving to a new house.  Currently we live in a two bedroom, one bathroom mobile home.  That’s pretty much it.  There is no modern conveniences.  We don’t have a clothes washer or dryer.  Coin laundry it is!  We don’t have a dishwasher; even more reason for disliking dishes.  We don’t have a garbage disposal.  We don’t even have one of those sink hoses with the spray attachment next to the kitchen faucet.  My whole life I’ve always had access to those things and yet for the past six months, I feel like I’ve been living in the stone age.  Moving to the new house, we have three bedrooms, two and a half baths, brand new refrigerator, washer, and dryer.  We have a dishwasher, garbage disposal AND even the sink sprayer.

As I go between the two houses during this move I think to myself, “I am never going to take for granted having a dishwasher and clothes washer and dryer ever again!”  However, in the back of my mind I wonder if I’m really going to live up to that vow.

When I was in Indonesia, there were so many things that I became thankful for.  In my last week there I experienced some of the poorest people I’ve ever met (see my post on week three of A Journey Overseas).  I spent a few days with some families who live in a slum village.  The houses didn’t belong to those who lived in them and they didn’t pay rent.  They are squatters.  The streets are lined with sewers; as in you better watch where you are walking otherwise you’ll step right in the flowing stream of stinky goop which foamed and bubbled and carried trash throughout the village.  These are the same streets where the children play.  Needless to say, these people had none of the modern conveniences which I so long for, nor do most of them have access to clean running water or even a toilet.  Yet, I stand at my kitchen sink washing the dinner dishes with a full stomach and my attitude stinks just about as bad as the sewers did.

My husband, Andrew, and I are extremely fortunate to be moving into this house.  We could never afford to rent, much less own, a house as nice as the one we are moving into.  It is through a blessed circumstance, and the generosity of people who care about us, that we are able to move into this house for just the cost of the ongoing expenses of the home.

I have had many conversations with God about this house.  The one we have most often is that I not take my life for granted.  I can have a really hard time remembering that the treasures I have, the money in my bank account, the house I live in and the car I drive are not my own but they are the Lord’s for it is He that provided them to me.  It is really easy for me to look at my friend’s homes or cars or lifestyles and want what they have and wonder what I did to deserve the crummy life I have.  I look at where I’m going and I look at where I am and I realize that my life isn’t as bad as I thought.  Living in the mobile home is helping me to see the true blessing of this new house.  Then I think back to the families in the slums of Indonesia and I think, even the mobile home that I have lived in for the past six months has been a huge blessing.  I continue to pray that I would be reminded of that every day.

Unknown

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A typical goofy moment with my husband

The first day of the year is just a day. It’s also a reason to look back and contemplate the year’s past and to have renewed hope for the year to come.  January first, 2012 had especially high hopes for me as I had been married all of two days.  Having my husband by my side made all the difference this year.  I know it would sound better if I said, “God and my husband,” but the truth is that God is always there and has been all my life.  Sure, I’m learning to trust Him more but I’m always learning to trust Him more.  This year was different because I also had my husband to lean on.  I believe that God provided Andrew to me for the leaning and it made all the difference.  It was a hard year which ended in a depression.Continue reading “Unknown”