Tuesday, August 17, 2004

we forgot the taste of bread

sushi anyone?

inspired by amy's request for information on frodo/lotr for her english class i jumped the gun on a post i had been planning. i had ordered 'return of the king' from netflix and had been saving it for a time when i could watch all 3 uninterrupted hours and take some notes.

i'm waiting for the trilogy to be packaged all together (i'm sure just in time for christmas) before i purchase the dvd's for myself.

last night i skipped out on my recovery group and engaged the dvd player as soon as my wee ones were tucked in for the night. i had not watched rotk since the first time last year when i sat alone (on purpose) in the darkened theatre and wept through most of it. i knew this viewing would not be as emotional, but i wanted to relive those parts i knew touched me deeply.

i love the way peter jackson begins with smeagol being the hobbit fishing on his birthday. giving us a more complete progression of gollum's tragedy. these words he speaks as he crawls into the darkness haunted me:
'we forgot the taste of bread, the sound of trees, the softness of the wind, we even forgot our own name.'

only through the kindness of frodo does gollum begin to remember. i have a friend, the woman who heard my step 5, who's husband is a heroin addict, she's moved over 25 times and has experienced so many horrors and trauma in her life. all she ever wanted was to be a missionary. her husband is gollum to me. watching him choose the drug instead of life each time makes me realize he has forgotten the taste of bread.

near the end of the movie, after shelob's lair and the brush with the orc's. samwise and frodo are collapsed on the rocks and sam begins to speak of the shire, of strawberries, of the past. frodo's words echo smeagol's:
'no sam, i can't recall the taste of food, the sound of water, the touch of grass... naked in the dark... there's nothing... there is no veil between me and the wheel of fire... i can see him with my waking eyes'

the lure of the ring is becoming too great for frodo, the evil all encompassing. the addiction to it's power is worth trading food, nature and shelter for.

sam then utters the best line of the film about not being able to carry the ring, but he can carry mr. frodo. our heart's leap, we long for comrades like sam, and they enter the doorway to doom.

as we're watching this last night liam says, 'sam is a good co-dependent' and i argue with him. i told him i'd state my case today on my blog.

i've told you before that i struggle with co-dependency. it is something i have discussed long and hard with my therapist. it seems etched into my dna, carved in to places i don't even see.

as i argued with her about how i was a pastor's wife, i was made for helping people. how am i to continue to do this and not be co-dependent? she explained that it was my motives that needed to change. was i filling that deep dark need within myself by meeting liam's or other's needs? was my addiction becoming their addiction? was i able to help because i was helpful and skilled, or was i being sucked in and loosing myself in and amongst their pain and struggle.

samwise never looses himself in frodo's journey. he is the consistent comrade. more like a slave, not bound by chains, but by love. he is still sam in and of himself. he is not defined by frodo. yes, the quest is gruelling, yes he would not be there if not for frodo, but he never confuses frodo's quest as his own. there is a time where he is tempted to step into frodo's shoes, but oddly enough it is gollum who saves him by planting suspicions into frodo's mind.

as a helper i am able to best help when i am sure of my boundaries, sure of my self, and sure of who i am apart from helping. when those lines begin to blur i am in a danger zone. i am owning someone else's pain and emotion, their struggle and journey. i will never be able to be the one to help them remember their own name. i cannot be their savior.

to love those who have forgotten the taste of bread is an enormous call. i know there were many times when in my active addictions where i forgot the sound of the trees, the softness of the wind.

to watch others injure themselves or choose ashes instead of amazing (idelette) without making their pain our own is like walking on the razor's edge, an extreme balancing art. seeing liam overworked and under appreciated and not entering into that arena to define myself is a temptation i face daily. i long to fulfill the call god has placed in my heart, i long to serve in the kingdom. but enabling or living vicariously through liam is damaging to myself, to him and to our marriage.

can i be 'sam' and not blurr the lines between those i help and myself? i don't know yet. it is my 'next journey'. as my children age i know that this is of utmost importance. this was the elastic cord my mother installed in my back. can i cut the cord? can i not install it in my children's lives? can i allow them to fail, to fall and to struggle without making their own pain my own? that is a mountain i must scale. for my own sanity as well as their's.

god help those who forget their own name. help us to remember we cannot name them ourselves, you are the only name-giver. help us lead them to you, by their side, loving like samwise, knowing all the time their journey is their own. help us to love the smeagol in them and help them to remember those parts of their lives that will draw them back, in and amongst their pain.

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