Merry, in his adjoining journey with Frodo in Lord of the Rings, makes a statement that is more honest than most of us care to admit about ourselves.
“I have never been out of my own land before. And if I had known what the world outside was like, I don’t think I should have had the heart to leave it.”
Suffering and wounds are prolific in our world. It is indeed a brave choice to look out at the darkness. And the truth is, in our bounteous land, we have often chosen not to look at the suffering of others because it is just too dark and we grow uncomfortable with the crippling effect we find chained around our own souls.
But what of the darkness we ourselves have experienced? Silent sins buried in the caverns of our souls. Not just our own choices but those others have made against us.
Many of us choose to stay in the quaint Shire. Some of us dare to join another in their journey and then second guess our decision because the darkness within ones soul and the darkness surrounding our souls seems too great to bear, too vast to contain, too strong to conquer.
We long for the simple quiet life of the Shire, the bubble of oblivion. A willful choice of ignorance to our own circumstance. While darkness threatens the land and moves toward us, we quietly tend our gardens, drink our beer in hobbit holes and pretend it is not our burden to bear.
Often we choose not to bear another’s burden because it will make us come face to face with our own burdens that have been skillfully tucked away and masked.
And in this state did Merry find himself.
He was answered by Haldir.
“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
Could our grief and sorrow be the fertile soil where God’s love grows all the stronger? Yes indeed. For we know in the cycle of life it is the things that die that fertilize the soil of new growth.
Do not be afraid of your own darkness. Do not stay paralyzed against the black scourge of suffering in our land.
Death cannot stop Hope.
A grave could not restrain our Lord.
Face the darkness with courage, all of your mind telling all of your heart.
And in the darkness God will show his light. Untangling truths from lies. Establishing the light of His kingdom from the inside out of your soul, and in a contagious passage of hope – He will heal our land.