The boys LOR weekend continues. We watched number 2, The Two Towers, last night while eating greasy burgers from Sonic and drinking a 2 liter of Mountain Dew. Jack thought that this one was more “creepy” than the number 1, mainly because of the marsh that they cross where dead people are floating in the water face up, reminders of battles past. But we survived and will probably knock number 3 out this morning. Jack and Jace don’t know it yet as they are still asleep. I will surprise them when they wake up.
I see the main theme in the second film as that of enduring friendship. How odd that friendship is what Paul Hill talked about last night at church. He talked about how we usually assign only “agape” love to god. This type of love is objective. It says that I will love you always no matter what you do or where you go. I will not leave you. What this type of love is not is sentimental. It does not move you. It is almost cold (my words). It is by choice. He explained that while god certainly has this kind of love for us, he also has “phileo” for us. This is the kind of love you have for a friend. It is affectionate, sentimental, emotional. It moves you. And that god also has this kind of love for us. He likes us. He wants to be where we are. He has affection for us. That is a powerful thought and something from which I have wandered in the last few months.
Amazing how these kinds of love are very much at play in Frodo and Sam’s relationship. As Frodo carries the ring, it changes him, as it does to anyone who possesses it. We see it change Bilbo. He does not want to give it up. We see it change Gollum for certain. He transforms from a young boy to the miserable creature that he is. We see Gandalf, who understands its power, refuse to even touch it. We see countless men destroyed by it, Boromir, Isuldur, etc. So as Frodo possesses it longer and longer while on the journey to destroy it, he is gradually affected by it, not wanting to separate from it, being hyper-suspicious of others trying to take it, feeling its weight. We even see him at times acting like Gollum, calling it “precious.” Jack, my 10 year old, even picked up that himself without my prompting (he is a very smart boy).
Well, Sam stands firm. He does not give up on Frodo. He offers Frodo grace. He encourages Frodo. He saves Frodo from injury and death. He never leaves Frodo’s side. Some of that is obviously “agape.” He even states that he made a promise to Gandalf to always keep an eye on Frodo. It is obvious that he is making a choice not to break it. It is a very objective love. But he also is filled with much “phileo” as he and Frodo journey. And I think the “phileo” even increases as the journey progresses. Despite Frodo pinning Sam to the ground and holding Sting (Frodo’s sword) to Sam’s throat, Sam still holds true with obvious love and compassion and grace for his friend. That is “phileo” in action. It is not a cold love that we see. It is genuine affection, and that is despite how he is treated by Frodo at times. And after the knife incident when Frodo realizes what he is doing and is on the verge of abandoning the task, Sam gives a moving speech of hope in the good of men and the world.
I want that kind of friend. I want to be the recipient of that kind of friendship. I want to have that kind of relationship with Christ. I want to have that kind of relationship with Karmen (of course I would like some, no a lot, of “eros” added in here). And so I hear the boys stirring now. They again slept on the floor in my room, but of course The Lord of the Rings is “not scary” to hear them talk about it. The just “like sleeping on the floor in your room.”