Moments of Middle-earth

by DoctorGamgee

Dear friends,

If you will pardon me for just a second, I would like to share some of the things that Middle Earth has taught me over the years. In no way is this list all inclusive, nor is it meant to tell you what YOU should find important from it. They are, however, things I would like you to take a moment and think about. Keep what you like, discard what you don't.

Things I have learned from . . .

Gandalf -- It doesn't matter how smart you are, if you don't use your brain constantly, you will forget. And never assume that just because you know a lot, that you know everything and don't need help. Frodo surprised him, he couldn't remember the word 'Mellon' when the door needed to be opened, and he would have been stuck on the mountain after the fight with the Balrog had it not been for the eagle. Most importantly, however, is that when your friends are in need, you help them out, even when it means risking something.

This last is seen here on the boards greatly, and is one of the reasons that this community has lasted so long. Even when the movies are finally over, and there really isn't too much to say about them that hasn't been said before, here we are, speaking to our friends, encouraging our writers, musing about the lessons from the story, and celebrating our triumphs, woes, and anything else we can think of which builds our friends up. It is something that is rare, and even when it is difficult with all of the changes, it is still a worthwhile goal, and one worth fighting to defend.

Aragorn -- when you are in charge, a bad decision is better than no decision at all, so keep your wits about you, do your best, and try not to second guess yourself. Lead by example, don't be afraid to question yourself, but don't let fear take you over. When he lost Gandalf, he was miserable, but he was the leader and had to take charge. Did he want to? No. But he did what he had to do, and put the needs of the others ahead of his own. Many folks want to lead because they think they can do a better job than those who are doing so. And sometimes that is true. However, until you have done the job (Aragorn had walked with them the entire way!), you don't really know what it intales. I am learning this in my new job. I am the Dept. Chairman, but it is a different job than I was expecting. Also, Aragorn taught me that when you are dealing with those who are beneath you, treat them with respect.

Legolas and Gimli -- Enjoy the differences of others. They may not think like you, or face things in the same way, but what a great opportunity to learn. And never assume that just because you know 'what kind of person the other is' that you know anything about them. You can't judge a book by its cover, nor a person by their clothes.

Boromir -- Even when you do something wrong, it is never too late to try to apologize and make things right. Nobody is perfect, and we all have to say, "I'm sorry." sometimes. Mean it when you say it, and learn from the experience. And just because you have made a mistake, you are not worthless.

This one was a tough one for me when I was younger. When I was just learning to sing, I was always apologetic about it, because I knew it wasn't good. That kept me from ever really giving it my all, as I knew it would never be enough. As I got older, I realized that EVERYONE has things to work on, and if you are uncomfortable, the audience will be too. Then, one night in Austria, I took a risk and it payed off. I had been told that I had 'zero potential' as a singer a few years before, but decided to just let it go and have fun. That night, I let loose my inhibitions and just 'did it.' After the performance, the Countess Kottulinsky came up to me and said, "You are a formidible actor." (though I can't spell to save my soul!). Now, I look forward to doing my best, whatever that may be, and those that hear me are much better off. I don't worry about being perfect any more. None of us should. We should just enjoy life as it comes; it changes constantly.

Merry and Pippin -- That we all have some growing up to do, and just because we do doesn't mean that we can't have some fun along the way. Friendship matters, and sometimes, the willingness to give of ourselves to others pays off in ways that nobody could anticipate, and return to you in the most amazing way.

Today, when I got home, Mrs.Dr.G greeted me by saying, "Guess what you got today." I had no idea what it could have been, when she handed me a lovely card from a member here on the boards who had read that I was having a tough time with my whole family being sick, and too much on my plate (as we say) and decided to send me a note (and tea and cookies, and Starbucks gift cards for both Me and the Mrs.) What a blessing, as today had been very frustrating with computer tie-ups at work and more insanity with the show opening in two and a half weeks. And here was a dear, sweet friend dropping us a note and some gifts, and letting us know that we are in her prayers. (((F))). You are such a dear. Hugs from the whole (((Family von Gamgee)))

Frodo and Sam -- Faith and Friendship will get you through. Look at the odds -- Frodo and Sam were not that impressive on paper. They didn't have Magic like Gandalf, nor strenthg of arms like Boromir or lineage like Aragorn. They were not skilled with weapons like Legolas and Gimli. They were the least likely heroes that you could imagine -- Rustic folk, never travelled much, and small in stature. Nothing remarkable really. And yet, they braved more than any, with less to gain. They took on Sauron and won. They had strength of character, and of will. They understood their place within society, and were ready to do what was needed to protect the ones that they loved. They stuck to the path, and offered to give up the burden to those they thought would do better with it. And yet, when faced with the horror of Mordor, they didn't give up. They had faith that their life had a purpose, and that even as small and unimportant as they were, they could do thier part. Frodo with his kindness toward Gollum gives us a vision of how we should behave towards those that try our patience. And Sam, with this steadfast dedication. He also teaches us that we should never underestimate those around us. Those we know well can still surprise us.

As I said, this is not everything. Just a few fast ideas which have sustained me throughout the dark times when things seemed grim. It is no wonder that this book is rated as the most important in the twentieth century. It is a great piece of literature.

Thank you all, for being a part of this community. I keep you all in my prayers.