Have you ever watched or read The Lord of the Rings? Are you a die hard fan or is it not really worth your attention?
I’m a HUGE LOTR fan. I love everything about Lotr- the plot, the characters, the magic, the setting, the merchandise… everything! And in the most recent years, I’ve begun to pay closer attention to the lessons involving the power of friendship in the LOTR.
Gimli and Legolas + Sam and Frodo = two of my favorite friendships from the trilogy.
Legolas & Gimli are opposites; Both of them come from different worlds. Legolas is an Elf, and Gimli is a Dwarf. In the beginning of the story they are rivals, competing & even insulting one another. By the end of the story, they are the best of friends, fighting evil side by side.
Theirs is a friendship worth admiring and learning from… but not necessarily the one I’ve learned the most from…
They are Hobbits from The Shire who are living comfortable lives when out of nowhere they are forced to leave their beautiful homes and embark on a dangerous journey.
Neither one of them asked to be a part of this dangerous mission. It’s obvious they simply wanted to live life like any other ordinary Hobbit, not like 24/7 enemy targets.
Throughout the story, however, they bravely confront their worst fears, dodge near death encounters, and rely on one another for strength, assistance, and encouragement. They cannot survive a day without one another, even when Frodo decides to put his trust in Gollum rather than his best friend Sam.
Let me pause their story for a second and tell you why I’m even writing about Sam & Frodo…
When I was younger, I had an “idea” of what friendship was all about. I thought it was all about having a friend whom you could talk to boys about or cheat off of on high school exams. I thought a friend was someone you could travel with. I thought friends were people you traded clothes with and talked about all the embarrassing memories you would never share with anyone else. Or, as my best friend put it, someone you could talk to about pooping and farting… yes, there are such friendships.
There were times when my relationship to certain individuals consisted of nothing but jokes, adventures, and similar interests… and yet, I’d still feel incredibly alone, misunderstood, and gasping for something else… something MORE!
Given my background, my experiences through life, my hurts, my disappointments, and broken relationships, I noticed that I had the need to be understood, embraced, and encouraged to reach my highest potential, in spite of the setbacks, by another human being.
I wanted to find at least one person who felt the same desire as I did to love & live for God, who embraced the beauty of art & creativity, and who I could be myself- my quirky, awkward, and introverted coffee & book loving self- with. I didn’t feel the need to have a huge circle of girlfriends like the ones I saw on Instagram or Tumblr. I knew I could be happy with just one girlfriend. I preferred quality over quantity.
But when that friend emerged out of nowhere, I wasn’t quite sure if she was the “one.” I observed our relationship. I tested the waters. I asked questions, opened up about certain subjects I had kept in the secret compartments of my heart, and listened to her stories.
Similar heart breaks. Similar life experiences. Similar interests. Love for books, coffee, and quiet time. And oh, what? Similar desire to love & live for God?! What in Gandalf’s name had I found? The Sam to my Frodo? The Gimli to my Legolas? The Smeagol to my Ring?!?!
Ok, ok. You guys get it. I was surprised. But rightfully so!
For one, when I had prayed for a friend, I never thought God would answer so soon. Second, I didn’t even think He’d send someone who had similar interests as I did. I mean, I knew what I wanted in a friend, but there were things I never had even asked for yet, nevertheless, received…. in a super, awesome, FANTASTIC way!
We were kinda like Frodo and Sam- little on the unusual side, but unique in our own way AND inseparable.
Over the years I got tired of shallow friendships. I got tired of being the 3rd, 4th, and even the 5th wheel. I grew weary of being “that one friend” who was either completely misunderstood or not on the same level of spirituality or “all-together” as some other folks.
I was tired of not meeting other people’s standards of perfection or maturity. I wanted to be embraced. I wanted to be accepted where I was, encouraged to keep going, and, most importantly, loved in spite of all the messiness…
…and I found that in a friend. I caught a glimpse of how Jesus sees me through the heart of a friend who loves coffee, books, and adventures like I do.
And what more can I say but… Thank you.
Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for being you- your Star Wars, Disney, Hobbit/lotr, books & coffee loving, introverted you. Thank you for letting me know, through your stories, that I’m not the only one with difficulties that are hard to explain. Thank you because now I know I don’t have to fight my battles alone.