What Lord of the Rings Taught Me About Life

I was watching the Lord of the Rings---all of them during an end-of-summer marathon with my son---and I was hit with a miniature epiphany. Heavy on the "mini" so don't get excited.

You know how you write a story?  And you know how during the story something bad happens to your main character...for example, the pitiful creature Golem convinces your Frodo that Samwise (who is, in fact, the most wonderful and loyal of hobbits) is a traitor, and then Frodo has a terrible argument with Sam and ends up sending him away?  But then a bit further down the story, your MC finds himself in a pickle...say, a giant spider wants to eat him...and so the thing that seemed like a bad thing---casting Samwise away---ends up being a good thing---because now Sam is free and can save Frodo?

Well, that's what life is like, isn't it?  Things that seem bad happen, but in the end they serve a good purpose.  Liiike...okay, like the time the company I worked for decided to close its Chicago branch [bad], which lit a fire under me to find a better job [good]. And when that "better" job ended up being at an office filled with overdemanding pricks [bad], causing me so much stress that I began to find more comfort in the idea of stopping dead in the middle of the tracks rather than crossing to board the train that would take me to that hell [very bad], one of the pricks pushed me to improve my writing skills [good], and thus the door finally opened to the world(s) in which I was meant to live [very yay!].       

Sometimes we get the benefit of seeing that good purpose come to fruition and are blessed with an "aha" moment.  But many, many times the bad things are left dangling.  We don't know why they had to happen and never see anything good come from them.  These are the times we have to trust that the great Writer of all of us has a plan. He gives us our hardships and sorrows for a reason, though we may never know why until the end of days.

I guess you could say the moral of this post is that we shouldn't fret over the uncontrollable bad stuff because it just might end up saving us from a giant spider one day.  Or something like that.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Scary, but I followed your logic!
Most of the time, bad things are just new opportunities.

Kittie Howard said...

When one door closes, another opens. It's sometimes hard, tho, to drop the anger and open the door, the real problem.

Suze said...

I love you. I love this post and I just love you, Nickers!!

D.G. Hudson said...

Recognizing the opportunity is the hard thing. When it knocks, don't hesitate.

Like our characters, we must sometimes endure a 'bad thing' to reach the 'good thing'. Is that like going through fire in the fantasy novels - it cleanses us? Usually, it makes us a little smarter (IMO).

Laura M. Campbell said...

The bad in my life always precedes the good. The good doesn't exist without the bad. I believe life is what you make it, but there's no such thing as instant gratification. So, when I'm faced with the bad, I keep moving forward and know the good will happen. Patience.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Sounds like you got a lot out of that movie.

Carol Kilgore said...

This is exactly what I believe :)
Nice to meet you today on Alex's blog.

Heather Murphy said...

This post brings new meaning to "Everything happens for a reason" Very true!

L.G.Smith said...

Aha! So you're not just zoning out like a couch potato when you're watching movies. The wheels are still turning inside. :)

Yes, very good observation about bad stuff actually being a blessing in disguise, working to push us in the direction we're meant to go.

Kelly Polark said...

I do agree that when a door closes there is a window open somewhere!

Can you believe I have never seen LOTR?!

Jennifer Lane said...

Wonderful advice. It's sure hard to see the value of bad things at the time they're happening, but upon reflection things usually work out for a reason. I've had quite a few job interviews that didn't pan out, and I just need to trust God that I'm where I need to be.

I think I might be one of the few people who haven't seen LOTR? I've seen small parts of it and it didn't seem like my thing.

Gina Gao said...

In my opinion, there are always opportunities for those who seek them. Never give up.


Susan Oloier said...

I think sometimes we need to find the good in the bad situations, too, even if a new and good situation doesn't result from the bad one. Was that totally confusing?

Tara Tyler said...

loved your epiphany!
things usually work out so we should go with the flow. wish i could teach that to my son!

Janie Junebug said...

You're my girl.


Donna Hole said...

I'm a "glass half empty" person; but that just means my attitude/outlook has nowhere to go but up and positive. I usually find a way to see something good at the end of my stressed out moments.


Feather Stone said...

You are so zen, Nicki. Your post reminded me of this zen philosophy.

No judgment

Everything in life holds both a blessing and a curse. We deny this when we label the events of our lives as either good or bad. The following old Zen story illustrates this lesson most effectively.

A farmer had a horse but one day, the horse ran away and so the farmer and his son had to plow their fields themselves. Their neighbors said, "Oh, what bad luck that your horse ran away!" But the farmer replied, "Bad luck, good luck, who knows?"

The next week, the horse returned to the farm, bringing a herd of wild horses with him. "What wonderful luck!" cried the neighbors, but the farmer responded, "Good luck, bad luck, who knows?"

Then, the farmer's son was thrown as he tried to ride one of the wild horses, and he broke his leg. "Ah, such bad luck," sympathized the neighbors. Once again, the farmer responded, "Bad luck, good luck, who knows?"

A short time later, the ruler of the country recruited all young men to join his army for battle. The son, with his broken leg, was left at home. "What good luck that your son was not forced into battle!" celebrated the neighbors. And the farmer remarked, "Good luck, bad luck, who knows?"

"Do not judge, and you will never be mistaken."

-- Jean Jacques Rousseau