“You’ve left out one of the chief characters – Samwise the Brave. I want to hear more about Sam.” – Frodo
The Lord of the Rings
It has been said the true hero of the story is not Frodo, the ring bearer, but Samwise Gamgee, the friend and companion of Frodo. Each step of the way he is there. Sam is the embodiment of the best friend, the companion, the Faithful in our journey of life. He is an incredible character.
All of us have someone in our life who is our Sam. We love them, and we hurt them. There are somedays we feel close to them and safe. Then, there are darker days where we feel we have spat on them, pushed them away, and lost them. Yet, they remain.
Our Sam is a curiosity to us. Why would he stay? What makes him want to be with us? What drives him?
Romans 12:10 tells us to deeply love our brothers and sister. This love isn’t one which flees during the emotional storms which threaten to drown them. Instead, with scars and bruises, our Sam fights to stay by our sides… even if we are the ones creating the storm.
Our Sams would rather us beat him, step on him, yell at him, than to see our lives shattered by the storms of darkness. Our Sam is the embodiment of Christ’s words in John 15:13. He would rather lay down his life for us, than see our lives destroyed.
Why is our Samwise so unique? What makes him this way?
Don’t You Leave Him
The path ahead of us and our burden are great. We look at the impossible journey of life and think, “I wish none of this happened to me, yet I must do this. I must do this alone.” We set off on our journey, and our ears hear someone calling our name.
It is our Samwise. He sees the burden we carry, he sees the pain it causes us, he sees the journey we must take, and he sees the loneliness we face. Yet, he pursues us to be our companion.
“Don’t you leave him, Samwise Gamgee.” Frodo, in tears, starts the journey to Mount Doom alone. His name catches his ear as Sam rushes through the water, despite not being able to swim, in order to be by his friend.
A true Sam and true friend doesn’t leave our side. We may push people away to do our journey alone, but we cannot shake that friend. Our Sam takes Ecclesiastes 4:9 seriously. He knows we cannot do our life alone, and our Sam calls to us, swims out to us, and takes our hand as we take each step.
Let Him Go, You Filth
Frodo, believing the deceptive Gollum, forbids Sam to continue. With tears clearing the dirt from his face, Sam turns around and heads home. However, Gollum leads Frodo to Shelob’s lair. It is cave spun with webs and traps capturing victims to be feasted on. Frodo is caught by the spider, Shelob, and is wrapped in her web. The journey has ended. Frodo will now be digested in this devilish way, and Middle Earth will plunge into darkness.
Yet, all is not lost. Sam comes to rescue Frodo. Sam saw through Gollum’s lie, and he ran to rescue his friend. Sam knew he was rejected, yet he came for Frodo. Shelob fought Sam over Frodo. The battle did not end in her favor. Frodo is freed from her web, and, later on, is freed by Sam to continue to Mount Doom.
Many days come we cast out our Sam. We push them aside, lash out, and spit on his friendship. Deception escorts us into a web of our destruction. Yet, does our Sam give up? No. How many times has he fought off our personal enemies physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritual so we could be free? How has our Sams risked his lives in order to see us thrive? Many people would leave us to be feasted on, but not our Sam. Coming with light and a sword, our Sam fights for.
I Peter 4:8 describes our Sam’s love. He love us so much, and because of that love he fight to rescue us. We ask for forgiveness, yet in his eyes it has already been granted.
But, I Can Carry You
On the slops of Mount Doom, Frodo’s burden crushes him to the ground. The smoke and ash darken is mind and eyes. All seems lost. All Frodo can see is darkness as the burden of the ring destroys him. But, a voice cuts through the fog like sun rays breaking up storm clouds. Sam is by his side reminding Frodo of good things. However, when that does not work Sam says one of the the most powerful lines in The Lord of the Rings, “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.”
How often has our burdens suffocated our soul to the point we thought death was inevitable? One more moment with this burden would cause so much pain we would rather die. Our “one ring” seeks to destroy us. Yet, our Sam comes close. He puts his arm around us, and he begins to carry us to see that burden destroyed. We are not alone in the smoke and ash, we have a light holding our hand and at points carrying us. Even if we try to get out of his grasp, our Sam holds us fast.
Our Sam is there when we fall. Ecclesiastes 4:10 and Galatians 6:2 strengthen his muscles as he carries us up the mountain. Only because of our Sam could we make the next step. Where would our hopeless body be lying if it wasn’t for our Sam?
Don’t You Let Go
Letting go of our pain and burden is a treacherous and difficult journey. When we finally drop our “ring” into the fire, we just want to let go and be destroyed along with it. The wounds bleed, and the pain is too much to keep on living. So, we decide to let go, and we embrace death’s fiery sting.
A hand reaches down and calls to us, “Don’t you dare let go. Reach!” It is our Sam. He knows it is painful to reach and move out of the mouth of Mount Doom, yet he pulls us up and runs with us to safety.
This is what it means to love our brothers and sisters. When we want to fall into the fire, our Sam reaches through the pain, the grief, the wounds, and the blood to see us have a new life. He truly lives out Romans 12:10.
At The End Of All Things
Who is your Samwise? Who doesn’t let go? Who fights for you? Who carries you? Who reaches for you? It usually is the person you love and hate; the person you embrace and push away. What is his or her name?
I have a few names in mind. Those I have difficulty receiving love from. I know they love me deeply, but my soul screams “I Want To Know What Love Is.” – In my life, there’s been heartache and pain. I don’t know if I can face it again. Can’t stop now, I’ve travelled so far to change this lonely life. Yet, how many times have they shown love to me in ways which slice though the silencing and suicidal depression? And my response? Some days I embrace it, and some days I spit on it. Yet, they still remain. Why? They love me. When the love of Jesus penetrates a life, that life can only love on others. Christ did not let us go, and neither will the friends God gives us.
Our journey seems lonely if we never look to our side. We will continue to stumble and fall, but we need to look at the hand grasping ours. That hand is the hand of our Sam. It is the hand of Christ manifested in a person.
Slapping away the hand and spitting at him will not chase him away. He holds us until we realize how much we lash out and ask for forgiveness that has already been granted before a word departs our mouth.
Who is your Sam? To them we say, “Thank you.” We want to hang our head in shame over how we treat him, yet he lifts our head saying, “I won’t leave you. I will fight for you. I will carry you. I will reach for you.” Tears in our eyes ask why, and he responds, “Because Jesus loves me.”
At the end of all things, it is our Sam who has been there each step of the way. He is a gift from God. Life was never meant to be done alone, and God gives the perfect gift – friends. It is those with cuts and scars from their journey with us who are the gift we must treasure. Our story would end short without them. Our journey would only end in the headline “(your name) lost his battle with depression,” without our Sam.
To our Sam, thank you. You are the gift treasured. You are the gift rejected. You are the gift loved. You are the gift spat on. You are the gift who never gives up. You are the gift That Tenderly Revives us Through the Rough till we reach an abundant and Liberating Life. You are the living letters sent by God torn, tear stained, and deeply cherished holding our hand each step of the way.
where would we be?