Sam the Wise

I am working on Urbana reflections. Like any conference there is much to process. But since Urbana tends to be full of more than I expect and physically exhausting it is usually difficult to process anything in a timely manner. And then writing about seemed doubly hard.

So I watched Lord of the Rings instead. I was reminded of how much I love the character Sam. Sam reminds me of my best friend Sol. They are always there for those who need them, no matter the cost. Even as Sam watches what the ring is doing to Frodo, even as Frodo turns from Sam, even as others don't believe in him, he stays by Frodo's side until the very end.

It's because he believes in something worth holding onto.

Frodo: I can't do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

2015 had a lot of rough moments for me and for our world. There were a lot of times when we just couldn't see the good in the world. But Sam here reminds me that there is a reason to not give and keep going - that there is good in the world worth fighting for.

I hope that in 2016 it is marked by a year of holding onto the good - holding onto the goodness of Jesus and fighting for it. There are many places in our world who don't see it or feel void of it. It's not a call to avoid those places but to go into them and bring hope and God's goodness into them. It's difficult and as Sam says there are a lot of chances to turn back but we don't because we hold onto that God is good throughout it all.

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