Friday, June 15

Real Men are Hobbits

Consider the Hobbits. They are homebodies, they love good food and drink, and no one cares if they are a bit plump. Family is quite important to Hobbits, and so are their good friends.

This is why Frodo and Sam did what they did: they loved their home and their friends so greatly that they were willing to travel a great distance and put themselves in danger in order to preserve that which they loved. They risked everything. Even Merry and Pippin went into great danger and endured terrible things for the love of their friends and their homes. Discomfort meant little when compared to what it meant to lose everything important to them.

Frodo: I can't do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

And Hobbits are wonderfully loyal. At one point in The Lord of the Rings, Frodo, sickened and tainted by the lust for the Ring that he bore, raved at Samwise and sent him away. He did so in such a cruel manner than I actually cried when I read it.

Sam: It's that Gollum, it's this place, it's that thing around your neck. I could help a bit, I could carry it, share the load...
Frodo: GET AWAY!
Sam: I don't want to keep it. I just want to help.
Frodo: You can't help me anymore.
Sam: You don't mean that.
Frodo: Go home.

But Samwise knew his duty and remembered his promise. He left only for a short time and returned to Frodo to help him complete his mission.

Sam: Then let us be rid of it... once and for all... Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can't carry it for you... but I can carry you! Come on!

Real men are just like Hobbits. Yes, they love good food and drink. Having a good time with their friends is important to them. (How many men do you know who have no interest in Super Bowl parties?) Being comfortable rates pretty highly, too, if you can judge the importance of this by the different kinds of recliners there are out there.

Pippin: I feel like I'm back at the Green Dragon.
Merry: [through a mouthful of food] Mm. Green Dragon.
Pippin: A mug of ale in my hand, putting my feet up on a settle after a hard day's work.
Merry: Only, you've never done a hard day's work.
[They laugh; Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli ride up. Merry stands and gives an exaggerated bow]
Merry: Welcome, my lords, to Isengard!
Gimli: You young rascals! A merry hunt you've led us on, and now we find you... feasting and... and *smoking.*
Pippin: We are sitting on a field of victory enjoying a few well-earned comforts.
[Merry blows a smoke ring]
Pippin: The salted pork is particularly good.
Gimli: [eagerly] Salted pork?
Gandalf: [exasperated] Hobbits.

But family is more important than their own comfort and safety. They go out into the world to conquer dragons and face dangers so that their family is provided for. Real men leave the safety of the Shire to complete their mission, to live their vocation, to make the world better for their loved ones. Think of the men who go out every day and work long, hard hours for the benefit of their families. Even if your husband or father is not a police officer or fireman or soldier, he still goes out there and deals with all kinds of things that are probably not all pleasant. I know that Hubby is not being shot at or running into fires, but he still has to go into the "real world" and deal with deadlines and people who either don't like what he has to tell them or don't care about it. He's got things to do at work that are just bothersome. He has to do stuff he probably would rather not do. But he does it anyway. I don't envy him. Trading in my life of motherhood, homeschooling, and housekeeping for what he does just for the sake of "adult conversation" would not be worth it to me.
Real men, like Hobbits, are also fiercely loyal. Real men stick to their families when the going gets tough. Yes, I know about the divorce rates. But real men know that love is not just an emotion. It's a decision. It's about putting the happiness and welfare of your spouse above your own.

Sam: I made a promise, Mr Frodo. A promise. "Don't you leave him Samwise Gamgee." And I don't mean to. I don't mean to.

It means that you say, "I'm sorry," and, "Please forgive me." It means that there are times in your marriage when you are just plain not happy. But it also means that when you've gotten through that rough patch that everyone hits about five to seven years in, your marriage is better and stronger.

Merry: Why did you look? Why do you always have to look?
Pippin: I don't know. I can't help it.
Merry: You never can.
Pippin: I'm sorry, all right? I won't do it again.
Merry: Don't you understand? The enemy thinks you have the Ring. He's going to be looking for you Pip. They have to get you out of here.
Pippin: And you... you're coming with me?
[Merry impatiently walks away]
Pippin: Merry?
Merry: Come on.

Just like Samwise going back to Frodo after he was sent away, you go back again to mend things between you and your wife. And that means that you grow in stature in your wife's eyes, and you become to her the knight in shining armor that she dreamt about when she was a little girl. I know because my husband becomes a bigger figure to me with every passing day.

Merry: Are you going to leave me?
Pippin: No, Merry. I'm going to look after you.

One other thing, though, about real men. Like Hobbits, they are overlooked by greater society.

Gandalf: Well, what can I tell you? Life in the wide world goes on much as it has these past age, full of its own comings and goings, scarcely aware of the existence of hobbits... for which I am very thankful.

When the council decided who would take care of the destruction of the One Ring, some scoffed that the Hobbits would be equal to the task.

[Frodo hears the ring whispering ominously while the Council argues]
Frodo: I will take it!
[they don't hear him; he raises his voice]
Frodo: I will take it!
[they fall silent, looking at him]
Frodo: I will take the Ring to Mordor!
Frodo: Though... I do not know the way.

This is what a real man does. God gives each of us a task, a vocation. A real man, like the faithful Hobbits, shout up to Him, "I will take it!" though me does not know the way. But God knows the way, and a real man takes His hand and is led there.

No comments:

Who are your heros?


Blog Widget by LinkWithin