“How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on when in your heart you begin to understand: there is no going back. There are some things that time cannot mend; some hurts that go too deep that have taken hold.” – Frodo in the film version of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
For a long time, I dreamed and wished and waited for things to go back to the way they were before, the way they were during what I’ve always considered my happy, golden years of junior high and high school. But those years were happy and golden only because of my own naivety and obliviousness. Life will not go back to the way it was before, and why should we want it to do so? that is not progress.
Several years ago, I ran into a spout of slight depression. I thought I had moved passed that, but I have begun to wonder whether things like depression ever really go away. I am not sure. I don’t believe mine has. And perhaps it never will. Perhaps this is a burden I will bear off and on for the rest of my life. Some years, it may not wake up in my heart and I could be utterly happy, but there may be some years where it comes back to remind me that it is not dead. It probably never will be completely dead and gone from my heart until I myself am dead and gone.
The quote above comes toward the end of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, a sequence of scenes that always makes me cry. Stories like The Lord of the Rings are so wonderful because of the great truth they show their readers. The truth hits deep and close to home. Here, Frodo is realizing that, after his long journey to and from Mordor where he went to destroy the one powerful Ring that brought greed, death, darkness, evil, and destruction wherever it went, he could never fully go back to life as it was before. After that journey, he would always see life differently – perhaps more wisely, perhaps more darkly or nostalgically.
At church this Sunday, we sang a song called “Spirit of God”. The third verse says this:
Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear.
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.
Even when my current prayers are answered, I will not be finished with unanswered prayers; there will always be more. I have desperately hoped that there would be one set of prayers that go unanswered until I am about thirty, and then I would be married with the hope of kids in the future and a nice home and all my friends and family would be at peace with each other and everything would be dandy, no more unanswered prayers. I guess life doesn’t quite work that way, though. In ten years, the unanswered prayers of today may be answered, but that is not the end of my journey; there will be more things for which I will pray, hope, wait, wish, cry, mourn, and scream at God.
I have heard over and over again that God does, and will, not give us more than we can handle. That is a complete lie. God does and will give us more to deal with than we can handle – at least more than we can handle on our own. However, God will never give us heavier burdens or harder troubles than He can handle. He can handle anything and everything; nothing daunts Him, nothing is impossible for Him. And because of this, He will never give us trials that He cannot handle for and with us. Our burdens may seem infinitely heavy to bear, but if we only tell Him about our troubles (every single one), sparing none of the gory or embarrassing details, we can get through anything with God’s help. We need only ask. It’s the ever-popular damsel–in–distress–saved–by–knight–in–shining–armor–on–a–white–horse story come to life. For what more could we ask?
- Frodo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rf67P1BXSEA
- Dreamed and wished and waited: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ffgsf3pqaD8
- “Spirit of God”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DRwvYiEY-U
- Tell Him about our troubles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsreL-9PbEI
- Damsel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHZGqBVBCRw Okay, this clip doesn’t exactly show Westley saving Buttercup, but he does in the end, as they both wish.
- In: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWXOMbMPZrk Jack Sparrow may not be a knight in shining armor, but it’s still a fun scene. I sadly couldn’t find the particular Will-Elizabeth scene I wanted.
- Distress: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKEwvDFqMGw And here, William Wallace isn’t able to save Murron, but he seeks revenge for the injustice done to her until his very last breath.
- Saved: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDC47NsoRE0 In this particular scene, Jamal cannot save Latika, but they get their happy ending eventually.
- By: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLz2rixwPpA And, no, Willoughby is no knight (although he comes into the movie on a white horse), but he sure seems like one here. The real knight in this story is Colonel Brandon, but like before, I could not find the right scene on YouTube.
- Knight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIURee3oYPY Edward Cullen is absolutely NOT a knight, but he does save Bella’s life here. (Not that she’s really worth saving… Stephenie Meyer should have just killed her off and stopped writing the books then and there.) And Bella is absolutely NOT a damsel in distress; she’s an idiot girl who is weirdly, unhealthily obsessed with a vampire. I really just added this in for a good hard laugh.
- In: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFgMowOwek0 Here’s another comedic moment, from Sondheim’s “Into the Woods”. (Go see the movie that’s coming out December 25!!! I’m so excited about it!) These two princes are definitely not knights, either. As Cinderella’s prince admits, they were raised to be charming, not sincere. In fact, they are very unfaithful and not at all men to look to as knights in shining armor.
- Shining: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHsA_lVrrDc Prince Henry is not without flaws, but is a dreamily wonderful knight.
- Armor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3bs_eUvf7Y Spiderman is a super hero in spandex armor. Need I say more?
- On: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZOywn1qArI This is one of the most nerve-wracking movies I have ever seen, but thankfully Bryan is able to save his daughter from her captors and get her back to safety by the end of the movie. (I’m sorry if I ruined it for you, but really you might as well save your nails from unnecessary biting.)
- A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfPLh_6ckzI Definitely the most girly-looking knight in this collection, Raoul proves to be the classic knight and Christine, a dashing damsel.
- White: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBbWNjNoUwo Laurie is a knight for all the damsels in the March family; he helps them through many troubles.
- Horse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCLi3_-iXHk Save a horse; ride a… Superman?
Read from the beginning: https://soarwithlaughter.com/soar-cloud-high/
7 thoughts on “There, But Never Back Again”
Betsy, I concur at the deepest levels! What a great post. I shared it on my FaceBook page. Thanks for the thoughts and the depth of spirit.
Thanks so much, Charlie! I’m glad you enjoyed it and thank you for sharing! I hope you’re doing well!
Thanks for this encouragement! As I struggle through the support raising process in following our call to Uganda, I have struggled mightily with many of my idols, quite often causing me to put my faith and hope in my strengths and abilities instead of the grace and strength of Christ Jesus. But when I am finally brought to the point of failure, that is where I am wonderfully convicted and graciously drawn back to our amazing Savior. Thanks for your openness, praying for you!
Thanks so much for reading, Jeremy! I’m so so happy to hear that you guys are going to Uganda! Fundraising is so difficult, but I am confident that, if God really wants you there, He will make it all come together for you! May your time there be blessed!
I love you Bepus
I love you too Susie Q!
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