I first read The Hobbit when I was a freshman at Little Rock Catholic High School For Boys. It was on the reading list for my English class. I fell in love with the story. As the trilogy also subsequently appeared on the reading list, I completed the series. I again read it in its entirety before each of the movies came out a few years back. I have now watched the entire trilogy multiple times. There is so much in those movies that I actually enjoy seeing them over and over. There are not many movies that I enjoy watching for the 4th and 5th time. These I do. Well my boys have been asking non-stop questions about them since seeing a snippet of one while in Tempe a couple weeks back. To this point we have felt maybe they were too intense for their 9 and 10 year old brains. But they have seen all 6 Star Wars and all 3 Pirates of the Carribean so we figured they could probably handle these now. So Karmen is OOT this weekend, and we decided to make this a Lord of the Rings weekend. We watched the first one tonight.
Do you ever have those times where you look at yourself and realize that you have fallen into some of your old ways without even realizing it? Things happen, you do a few stupid things, someone calls you out, and all of a sudden you see yourself more clearly for who you are. That happened today and a phrase from the movie tonight was like a laser exposing my charade. These movies are good for that, exposing truth.
The Fellowship has been forced to take a path through the mines of Mount Moriah and are stopping for a rest as Gandalf considers which corridor they should select for travel. He and Frodo begin a conversation which centers on Gollum. Frodo says that it is a pity that Bilbo did not kill Gollum when he had the chance. Gandalf’s response is a laser that exposes truth. He explains that it was pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand. And then he gives this quote, “Do not be to eager to deal out death and judgment.” In flies the arrow straight to my core.
I became very clearly aware today and tonight about how that old problem of selfishness and an unhealthy self-focus has crept back into my behavior. How I have been passing out a lot of judgment. Most of it in subtle ways but still very much there. I see it mostly in my responses to others. In the way I am too quick to take offense. In the way I am unwilling to truly listen. In the way I have no time for others. In the way I would rather lecture someone than listen. In the way I am more concerned about being understood than trying to understand. In the way I have different standards for others than I have for myself. In the way I expect grace from others but give little in return to them. In the way I can argue the crap out of anything. In the way I think I am “above all that.” In the way I tend to see things too black and white, running and hiding behind theology or rules without asking the tough questions sometimes. In the way I look to exclude rather than include. It just makes my soul feel black.
So if you have been the recipient of my judgment recently in any way, I apologize sincerely from my core. I have done that truly human dance of taking 3 steps forward and then 2 steps back. But yet again I have been graciously refocused although it feels more like a slap in the face than anything involving grace. And even thought the dance is back and forth, if I just stay in the game I make progress no matter how slow it may be. And sometimes just staying in the race turns you into an Ironman. Couldn’t resist that one.
We are watching part 2 tomorrow night. Will probably be rocked by something else so stay tuned for part 2 on the blog.