As I sit here this morning, the very early morning of Samwise Day I
am struck again by what an incredible character JRR Tolkien created in
Sam. This musing is written from a Christian perspective. I know that
not everyone on these boards is a Christian and I mean not to offend
anyone, I just found myself musing and would like to share it with you
Who is Samwise Gamgee? He is a very simple gardener who I think does not give himself enough credit. He is a man, a friend , a son, father and husband. Not unlike many of the men in this world. He had hopes and dreams, fears and joys. He found himself in the unusual position of protecting Frodo on this quest. He was a very unlikely hero.
I found myself thinking about how people become heroes. I commend JRRT for making Sam Frodo’s companion on this journey, because for all practical purposes it should have been Aragorn, Boromir or Gandalf. Someone who was much more prepared for battle or better “equipped” to protect Frodo. But JRRT saw and knew something that most people didn’t. Sam had a ability to protect Frodo that even the greatest warrior didn’t, Love!
Sam had a true and passionate love for Frodo, he would have died for him if necessary. This is what sustains Frodo for the length of the journey! This is what allows Frodo to complete the quest. Only true love would have stayed with Frodo as long as it did. When the fellowship is Leaving Rivendell Lord Elrond says to the company “ No oath or bond is laid on you to go farther than you will.” Basically meaning that none of you have to stay this course with Frodo. You don’t hear what Sam’s thoughts are but I believe that he heard those words and knew that there was no way he was leaving Frodo. He was in it for the duration…Even unto death! He made the ultimate sacrifice, his life. There were moments on the journey that Sam thought that they were never going to make it. He didn’t say “well Frodo you’re on your own, I’m heading home now. I’m tired of this whole thing.” He didn’t even have to be there! This ring had nothing to do with him, he didn’t inherit it. But he stayed with Frodo. I think for me some of the greatest chapters in the book are The Choices of Master Samwise, The Tower of Cirith Ungol, and Mount Doom. These are times when Sam makes the decision over and over again to stay the course…To fight the good fight…To not let Evil prevail!
As a Christian I often think about the first Apostles. They were all very simple men, fishermen, very uneducated and unworthy of the task that Jesus gave to them. They persevered nonetheless and look at how many people in this world know about Jesus. Whether they are Christians or not, most people in this world have heard of him and respect what he did. Pretty amazing for someone who only lived to be 33 years old! All of it was because it stared with the Apostles spreading the word. 12 Very simple “unworthy” Men.
I think for me the message that JRRT gives us is that we are all special. It’s not about the amount of education or lack there of in our lives. It’s not about whom we know, how much money we have, how smart we are, or what kind of family we are born into. We all have a role to play in our world and most of the time the must unlikely people are chosen to do the greatest tasks.
Sam for me is the ultimate friend, who made the ultimate sacrifice. How luck we would all be to have just one such friend in our lives. I know that even though he is just a literary character, Sam inspires me to be such a friend for others.
“No greater love has one than this, to lay down his life for a friend.” John Chapter 15:13