Why Shirley loves the Lord of the Rings movies...
originally written 19 Jan 04?  Revised 21 Jan 04

COURAGE      UnwaveringHONOR

New friends are like silver
Old friends are like gold

Definitely both are valuable treasure!
These movies first captured my heart because of the relationships I saw forming in The Fellowship of the Ring.  The relationships that formed and then grew through so many trials were what attracted me and then kept me involved in the stories.  Throughout the following two films (The Two Towers and The Return of the King) I was hooked!  I found myself identifying with various characters in the stories as my own life unfolded.  

Sometimes I felt like Frodo...
a little person facing a seemingly impossible task,
but with the aid of his true and noble friends...
he could find strength for the battles he must endure.  
Sometimes I felt like Sam...
the faithful sidekick who must remain steady and true in order to help a friend when the struggles threaten to overcome even the stoutest heart.
Merry & Pippin are special to me for their playful innocence and willingness to face unknown danger to help out their dear friend.
I admire the other members of "the fellowship"...
Legolas, Gimli, Aragorn, Gandalf and Boromir...
who are willing to battle dark forces to help this little one complete his mission.

The Return of the King had me weeping at many different scenes.

The coronation of Aragorn made me yearn for the day
when our own King will return to claim his Bride.

The separation of the hobbits (at various points in the movie) had me crying as these scenes reminded me of the worst part of military life...saying goodbye to those who have become so dear, uncertain if we will ever see each other again on this earth.  I was sobbing uncontrollably by the end of my first viewing of this film because I know I will have to deal with this (again!) soon and, at that time, I could not deal with one more set of best friends being separated, neither in our real world nor Tolkien's fantasy world.  : ) As I continue to wrestle with the way these movies have "taken over" my way of thinking, I cry out to my Lord to show me why. " Why can I not get this out of my head?  Am I being obsessive?  Are you trying to teach me something?  Please open my eyes!"

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:13

As I pondered the friendships in the movie this morning, a question surfaced that had an immediate answer.  Last night I had a scripture verse come to mind that is so applicable to the characters I love in this movie and the devotion that draws me to them.  Being casual friends is one thing, but have we, as a society,  lost that sacrificial love for others?  To possess such a love for another, it seems to me, is such a rare gift.  The question that surfaced was, "Am I that kind of friend?  Have I ever had a friend such as this?"  Instantly, a face came to mind of a classmate of ours in high school.

I can still see Corey's smiling face today. 
At one point during our high school years (or perhaps during the year after graduation?), I lived across the street from one of our city's high schools.  As Robert was taking me home one evening, there must have been a game ending or something because there were many kids walking past in various groups.  We spotted a classmate from our school, Corey, and stopped to chat with him a bit.  As he spoke with Robert on the driver's side of the car, I glanced around at the others walking by on both sides of Robert's car.  I noticed a kid messing with his pants, pulling something out of the front of them.  I didn't know what he was going to do so I glanced away.  When I turned back, he was tapping a handgun against the glass of my window!  I was filled with terror and turned my head quickly, waiting for the blast that would instantly end my life on this earth.  I looked at Robert and Corey, still chatting, oblivious to the danger, and I could not utter a word.  When I turned back to my window after nothing happened, that kid was gone.  I don't remember if the guys noticed my face or if I was finally able to get their attention but I told them what I had just seen.  I was talking about how we could have been killed that night and Corey said words that would make a lasting impact on my life.  I think he said, "I would not have let that happen." I can't remember the exact words he said but I remember the determination on his face and the clear meaning of those words.  No matter the risk, he would have done his best to prevent his friends from coming to harm.   I was dumbfounded.  He was not one of our closest friends.  We had never previously spent time with him outside of school.  It was a strange feeling for me, to have someone love me that much who barely knew me.  Fear was replaced with thanksgiving that, one, the Lord protected us by distracting that boy away from us somehow, and two, that we had such a friend who would be willing to put his own life at risk.  As the impact of this incident deepened in me back then, I was struck with the realization that we already had Someone willing to die for us. The King of Kings himself, Jesus Christ.  Not only was He willing, but He did die...the sacrifice has already been made.  What we do with this knowledge is our choice.  It taught me a very vivid lesson of the sacrifice that Jesus made and deepened my own faith in Him.  That lesson has once again surfaced in my life to further strengthen my love for Christ.  I don't know whatever happened to Corey, but I pray that his life has been blessed by our LORD.  I tried, unsuccessfully,  to locate him once, many years later.  I pray that in his lifetime he has been given the immeasurable treasure of having true friends.  

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*Another version of this article has now been published in Lembas for the Soul, a collection of 50 writings by numerous authors from around the world.  This book has a release date of 1 Dec 2005.  See www.whitetreepress.com for more details.
photograph by: unknown
photograph by: unknown
photograph by: unknown
photograph by: unknown
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