Well, it's been a month since my dad passed away. I still have trouble sleeping at night; last night I was up reading until 2am, tossed and turned in bed until after 4 and finally fell asleep and slept just fine until 10. I really hoped to be sleeping normally by now, I'd hate to start looking for work and asking if they'd mind if I worked from noon until 8pm.
This weekend I dug out the LOTR movies and sat down for a watch. Like some other things I've seen over the last 10 years, they are completely different movies now that I can focus on the movie. There were two points where I stopped and rewound, do people still say rewound or is that really last millennium, to listen again.
The speech Sam gives towards the end of Two Towers caught my attention.
I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness, 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. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
What are we holding onto, Sam?
That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.
It dawned on me that is the best explanation I've heard about why I took care of my dad all those years. Especially the line "the ones that really mattered". Because being a caretaker really mattered. Taking care of your spouse, your parents, you child really matters. Being a clog in some corporation, doesn't really matter. And after you live a portion of your life, really doing something important, how do you go back to being something unimportant?
But then I hit a part towards the end of the 3rd movie, when Fordo is talking to himself, which I do now on a regular basis, don't you know.
Frodo: 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 time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep that have taken hold.
There it is. I'm trying to figure out how to get back to what I did and what I was before I became a caretaker and there is no going back, there were fuses blown in my brain that will never be repaired. Hurts that time won't heal. There is no going back, there is no home anymore.
Everything you want to know in life can be found in the Bible and if you don't want to read the Bible, just read LOTR; Christianity for Agnostics.
Unlike Frodo or Bilbo, I don't get to ride off into the sunset with the elves to some magic kingdom. I have to go on. There is no Shire to call home.
I don't know. Maybe if I'd lived a regular life none of this would matter. Maybe most of you out there in reader land who married, had kids, already figured out this stuff in your 20's. Maybe you realized raising children that jobs and stuff didn't really matter, it didn't matter what you did, what was important was just bring home the bacon to put a roof over the head and food on the table for your kids.
And maybe I just think too much. I remember an old friend from college, Sally, told me that my problem was I don't take seriously the stuff I should and take too seriously the stuff I shouldn't. She was much smarter than I was, I still don't know what the hell she was talking about.
I always worry a little about quoting and comparing life to LOTR so much. I know if you quote Star Trek you are showing you are really a geek, and if you quote Star Wars you are showing the world you are a real nerd. I'm not sure about LOTR though. First of all, it's the most popular novel of the 20th century, voted the best novel of the last millennium, and I have actually read the book twice and am thinking of reading it again this week. I also enjoy Kreeft's speeches on LOTR as well as his book on the subject of Tolkien. So I don't know if quoting it falls to the lower levels of mental exercise as a Trekkie or whatever Star Wars fans call themselves.
I talked to John Loeffler of Steel on Steel and he is reading my book and I think I will be doing a radio show interview with him in the coming weeks about my book, my experiences as a caretaker, dealing with the medical system, and how churches were of no help at all dealing with the issues we faced. That will be cool. I've been a fan of his show for over 10 years and hopefully enough of his listeners will buy the book so I can afford to self publish a softcover edition of the book.
Now, if I could just figure out a way to get interviewed on Coast to Coast….
And what do you fear?
A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.