I recently saw the first part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring, and a particular scene got my full attention and made me take a serious look at what I find around me. Now, if you haven’t seen the movie before or heard anything about the Lord of the Rings (I honestly doubt that any human being reading this will fall into the aforementioned category), then I guess that this post might not make plenty sense to you. However, I’ll try to describe everything in detail.
According to the movie, the world was in the third age. Different races occupied earth and men (people like you and me) made up just a part of the entire earth population. Dwarves, hobbits, goblins, elves, trolls, etc. lived on the earth and it was almost impossible to have two or more races agree over any matter – mistrust was a part of their entire lives. However, in The Shire, a place of great peace and quiet, lived a hobbit named Frodo Baggins who lived with his once-upon-a-time-adventurous uncle, Bilbo Baggins. The Hobbit trilogy, released over 10 years later, captured the adventures of Bilbo.
Frodo had to leave after the Shire after discovering that the ring which was left in his care by his uncle, before his departure from The Shire for life, was a tool that could destroy Middle Earth. The ring also had the ability to drive men to madness or even bring them to their death – it poisoned the souls of its bearers. Men couldn’t bear it, elves were too pure to have such evil stain them, dwarves were too greedy to be trusted with something of such value. The ring could consume everyone easily except the hobbit, Frodo. Upon leaving The Shire, he acquired three companions: Samwise Gamgee, Merry and Peregrin Took.
This group of four hobbits were joined by five others to form The Fellowship of the Ring. After going through so much troubles and weathering so many storms, Frodo got to realize that the journey ahead could only be taken by him and nobody else. The scene where he tries to push Samwise away from him touched me deeply.
Frodo steps into a boat on the shore of the river and begins to paddle away from what was left of The Fellowship. Samwise runs out from the forest behind Frodo shouting at the top of his voice, “No! No! No! Frodo!”
Upon reaching the river bank, he calls out to his friend, “Mr. Frodo.”
Without even turning to look at him, Frodo replies, “No, Sam,” and continues paddling.
Sam begins to walk towards the boat which was already in the middle of the river. This got Frodo`s attention and he finally turns back to look at his most trusted companion.
“Go back, Sam,” he says, “I’m going to Mordor alone.”
Sam, without pausing for even a second, continues walking towards Frodo and replies, “Of course you are. And I’m coming with you!”
Frodo looks at his devoted friend with concern and says, “You can’t swim!”
Sam begins to struggle in the water, trying to swim but failing to. Frodo then calls out his name and turns his boat around in a bid to save his friend from drowning. Sam, however, continues to descend deeper and deeper into the river. Frodo reaches him in time and pulls him onto the boat by the hand.
Sam begins to cough and says, “I made a promise, Mr. Frodo, a promise. “Don`t you leave him, Samwise Gamgee” and I don`t mean to. I don`t mean to.”
Frodo, clearly touched by this declaration of allegiance and loyalty by his friend, reaches out to hug his friend. The only words which could come out of his lips were, “Oh, Sam.” They were locked in a friendly embrace for a few seconds before they paddled away.
That scene made me think for a while. In our world today one finds it hard to come across good friends. Imagine how hard it will be then to come across true friends. I have lived long enough to know that one of the most important holes in a man’s life that needs to be filled is that of friends. And if one has any sense, then just anyone can’t be one’s friends. I’ve seen friends backstab each other and smile at each other the very next minute. I’ve seen friends verbally destroying themselves and still hold their hands to sing the Family Song in Church.
But I have never seen the kind of loyalty showed by Sam to Frodo mirrored in the life of anyone around me. It’s strangely similar to the loyalty and genuine love that existed between David and Jonathan in ancient Israel. Friends are not just people who, by virtue of having so much in common and finding themselves having the same goals, find pleasure in spending time together, but people who can lay down (I mean this literally now) so much, even their lives, for each other.
So, I’m on a quest to find my own Samwise Gamgee. I’m on a journey to find true friends. At the point where I currently find myself, I know that I need true friends. And here lies the crux of the matter: many of us, including myself, always want to get good people around us who will remain true in times of plenty and times of little, men who will sacrifice so much for us because they love us, and we forget that we should be men and women that will stand behind other men and stand behind them with all that we’ve got and all that we are.
So, I’m also on the quest to be somebody else’s Samwise Gamgee. That way we can all make the world a better place. Even our marriages would be better if we could become better friends.
“Friends love through all kinds of weather.”
Prov. 17:17 [MSG]