“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass.” – Samwise Gamgee, LOTR
Small self-disclosure – I LOVE Lord of the Rings! My favorite of the trilogy is Return of the King. There’s something encouraging and inspiring about Middle Earth hitting rock bottom and struggle bussin’, but in the end rising back to LIFE! (Sorry for the spoiler if you haven’t seen the movie…)
H O P E. It’s all about taking hope that the trials and tribulations you are experiencing will pass! The darkness in Return of the King was real and had control over many people and many things. Evil orcs and other vile creatures sent to destroy them outnumbered the people of Middle Earth. It seemed as though everywhere goodness turned, the enemy, Sauron, was right there trying to destroy it. Virtue ceased to exist and life was nothing but a dark shadow. Seems pretty bleak and the OPPOSITE of hopeful right?
And then. BAM! Through self-sacrifice, love for the other, and the HOPE of a few worthy men still left in Middle Earth, light prevails and goodness is restored! Darkness is only a passing thing! In the end, Light and Goodness ALWAYS prevail!!
The people of Middle Earth couldn’t fight their war alone. Men had to band together with Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves, and a few other “tribes” (just to save some suspense for you!) to help them fight and ultimately conquer the evil that had overtaken the land. Pastoral Counselors are kind of like your compatriots, here to help fight with you and to remind you of this notion – darkness is only temporary. The trials and tribulations you are in are fleeting—they feel real and they are very real—but take hope in the Truth… trials and tribulations do not last forever. Light is not overcome by darkness. Rather, light illuminates the darkness so that it loses its power. The more you are able to talk about things and bring them to the light, the more they lose their hold and grip on your life. Forgiveness. Mercy. Love. Peace. Hope. Pastoral counselors can help you restore light back where darkness used to be in your heart.
I’ve always thought that hope was a dangerous thing to have and to believe in. I felt as though whenever I “hoped” something would turn out a certain way, I was often disappointed and let down. But I was operating out of an incorrect mindset of what hope was. A wise and dear mentor once told me “Hope isn’t dangerous – expectations are. We can always hope because hope does not disappoint.” The more I am able to change my expectations and perceptions of my circumstances…and the more I am able to bring areas of darkness into the light…the more hope is able to build and grow in my heart. It is in believing that hope will not disappoint and light will prevail over darkness, that true freedom and peace can come. Oh and the real definition of hope is this: “hope keeps us from discouragement, it sustains us during times of abandonment, it opens up our hearts for better days to come, and it is a weapon that protects us in the struggle of salvation.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1818-1819)
Do you think you’re worth the fight? Do you believe that light and goodness can and will prevail? What’s holding you back from believing it? From taking hope? Pastoral Counselors are here for you. We’re here to help. We are willing to take up a sword and fight with you in the battle for your heart.
At the end, when all seems lost and Mr. Frodo is carrying the future of Middle Earth around his neck, Samwise Gamgee speaks these words of Truth:
“There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.” – Samwise Gamgee
You are worth fighting for. Your heart is worth fighting for. No matter your difficulty and struggle, no matter how dark your life feels or seems, take hope that the darkness and difficulty can and will be overcome.