by Randall Allen Dunn
A good friend once asked me if something about her attracts “problem people”. It seemed she was always spending time with people who unloaded all their drama on her with little concern or regard for her own time or needs. She cared about these people and wanted to help them, but she wondered if there was something wrong with her that made everyone feel they could dump their problems on her.
Maybe you’ve wondered the same thing. Wondered why you have to deal with some people and problems that others ignore. Or why you have to constantly clean up other people’s messes while everyone continues on their merry way, without a care in the world.
It’s frustrating enough to bear a heavy burden, but it’s much worse when you recognize that you’re the only one carrying it.
In the film, “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”, Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) is presented with a monumental problem. An evil sorcerer, Sauron, threatens to destroy the entirelandofMiddle Earth. He is connected to a single Ring of magical power, which must be destroyed in order to defeat Sauron. The only way to destroy the Ring is to hurl it into the volcanic flames ofMountDoom, so someone must take it there.
The problem is that the Ring’s evil power is tangibly felt, and it tempts anyone within close contact to become evil themselves.
Not the sort of task anyone would want. Or the sort that anyone could handle. Even the great wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) cannot trust himself around the Ring, knowing that if he turned to evil he would become as great a threat to humanity as Sauron.
So he chooses Frodo, a humble and helpless Hobbit. The least powerful of all the races in Middle Earth, and therefore easy prey for anyone who would attack him to take hold of the Ring.
Yet Frodo is also the least tempted to use the Ring for his own ends. He recognizes the Ring is evil and must be destroyed. He has no interest in using its power, even if it might be for a good purpose.
This is why he was chosen.
Yet for Frodo, it is both an honor and a curse. While he doesn’t want to possess the Ring, the Ring’s power does tempt him and attempt to control him. Just as it nearly consumed his Uncle Bilbo (Ian Holm), and as it did consume another poor Hobbit, Gollum, who became corrupted and deformed from years of selfish exposure to the Ring.
Other fellow Hobbits who accompany Frodo on the journey – Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin), Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd) – can scarcely help protect him from enemies, such as the Nazgul, a squad of dark spirits sent by Sauron to retrieve the Ring. Those who later join Frodo provide some muscle but also provide a potential threat to Frodo’s mission. While he can trust Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), who expresses kindness and a desire to defend Frodo, and the archer-elf Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Frodo is less certain about the argumentative dwarf Gimli (John Rhys-Davies). And one of their number, Boromir (Sean Bean), a man of Gondor, clearly wishes to use the Ring to save his own people.
Boromir ultimately reveals his inner nature when he’s left alone with Frodo. He suggests the Ring is too great a burden for one person alone to bear. He offers to share it with Frodo, just to borrow it long enough to help his own race. When Frodo refuses, Boromir challenges the idea that Frodo should be chosen to carry the Ring, rather than any one of them. He knows Frodo can’t protect the Ring by himself. So he attempts to take it by force.
Frodo uses the Ring’s power to turn invisible and escapes, leaving Boromir alone in the woods, ashamed at his actions. The Ring tempted him and he succumbed to it completely.
Demonstrating why he was not chosen to bear it.
I told my friend, regarding her concerns about whether she was an easy mark for complainers and drama queens, the way I viewed her situation. In my job at that time, I counseled college students on how to be successful in their classes, and scheduled them to re-take classes they had failed. For students who needed extra help, I often assigned them to instructors I knew were the most patient, the most encouraging, the most helpful. I sometimes wondered if those instructors felt burdened to be given so many needy students. But I continued to assign some of those needy students to those excellent instructors, because those were the instructors I could trust to provide genuine help.
That made my friend feel a lot better.
When you struggle with difficult tasks or difficult people and you want to ask the heavens, “Why me?”, the answer might be that you’re the best person for the job.
Find more reviews of “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” at amazon.com!
Monday, April 1st, 2013