Saturday, March 27, 2010

Is It Worth Going On?

So many hard things to deal with in life. So many disappointments, grief and heartache combined, make us feel sometimes that we can't go on--that we can barely breathe.

I've been digging into my ancestors. It started as just to find some background for my own writing. Then, it got personal, and I'm trying to sort it all out. What is God calling me to write? After that, a tragedy happened in our community where a woman was shot to death by her estranged husband and then he killed himself. I knew her. My boys worked with her. I talked over colleges and careers with her and her daughter. It reminded me of the many times I came close to being killed in much the same manner as she was, but for some reason it never happened. Bullets flew by my head, but never touched me. Night after night of endless talking my tortured father from committing suicide and taking us with him. It was a time of my life full of pain and suffering emotionally, but I lived. I survived. I'd go to church and school afterwards, smile and not talk about it. This woman did not get that chance. I have no answers for that.

In times of grief and suffering we often question if we can go on. The opposition and obstacles are great; we are unsure of survival. Is it worth the risk? Life is like that. It is full of risk but not everyone takes it. Everyone has a life with these same questions and risks, and we often question if we can go on knowing what we do, but also not knowing.

This is from a conversation between Sam and Frodo in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien:

Frodo Baggins: I can't do this Sam.

Sam Gamgee: 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 on to Sam?

Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.
Whatever you are fighting for, keep fighting. Whatever has you in the grip of that despair or struggle, it's worth going on. Rest if you must. Take a deep breath. Clear your head.  You are holding on. Don't give up. Never give up until God calls you Home.

Crystal Warren Miller


Anonymous said...

Thanks Crystal, I think I needed that today, outside of a Biblical context. We all hear tell about God's blessings, but sometimes it's hard to see until it's shown through someone else's perspective. Having similar encounters with death grasping at my coat-tails, and wondering why I lived and someone so wholesome and wonderful was taken is mind-boggling. I know her girls are strong, and that they will make the sun rise again.

Terra said...

Dear Crystal, you have a pure strong soul, and are so good to be pointing out how we can and must go on.
You went through some rough times, especially helping your suicidal dad.
I love the quote from the book, and will save it, it is so inspiring.
Have a sunshine filled weekend.

Crystal Laine said...

"Anon"--It IS hard to see God when you're struggling. There is such evil in the world and for now that is how it is. But there is also good in the world. Amy was a good thing. And she had a strong, strong faith. She left behind strong and faith-filled girls. They may struggle with this in the days ahead, even so.

It took him so long to decide to finally join her after taking her life, I guess--who knows?

Terra, if not for my deep faith, I might have run away back then (I was a teen) or even felt it wasn't worth it to continue such pain myself. But for God (and what Sam says here addresses that.) I don't know what that purpose is on this side--and why Amy (and so many others I've known) didn't survive.

I hope if you are struggling that you always reach out--to others, but also to God. God meets you right where you are no matter where that is. Love to you all.

Jan Cline said...

We have to keep going...but I dont know how people do it without God. Hard times help us tell the story of redemption and mercy and love in our writings. Thank you so much for this wonderful post.

Christine said...

Thanks Crystal, I really needed that. Lately I've been struggling with a sense of abandonment by God. I know, I know, it's not true---He doesn't abandon us. But sometimes it feels like it. Your post was very special. I love Sam's words and have for many years.

Anonymous said...

Crystal, your post reminds me of what you shared about your "Wilderness Journey" at this month's meeting of the Indiana chapter of ACFW. My own life has been one of wandering, but I usually don't see God's leading in it until long after the path has turned and gone a different way. Thanks for the word of encouragement.

LeAnne Benfield Martin said...


jel said...

I'm glad that you didn't give up!

Nicole O'Dell said...

Wonderful post.

jel said...

may your weekend be a blessing 2 U!