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Fallen: Born to Rise

Updated on January 10, 2018


Disclaimer: I do not own Lord of the Rings. That masterpiece is the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, and the credit is irrefutably his. Please bear that in mind as you read. Thank you.

“How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on when in your heart you begin to understand there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep that have taken hold.”

~Frodo Baggins (J.R.R Tolkien’s The Return of the King)

Have you ever felt broken? Have you felt as though the weight of the world were crashing down upon your shoulders with the sole intent of destroying you? If so, perhaps the above-mentioned quote strikes you the same way it does I.

There was a time not long ago when the world seemed to be a dark and desolate abyss, devoid of goodness and light. I felt no joy or that little which there was, I did not recognize as such. I thought I had lost all that I was. I felt the despair of having been abandoned and the destitution of happiness. I thought at that time, that I had nothing to look forward to. I believed that I was chosen and destined to be miserable forever while others progressed to greatness and exceeding joy. In this way, I, perhaps not unlike you, relate to Frodo and his uncle Bilbo. After having returned from his daunting quest which took him to the very origin of darkness and evil, they believed there would be no return to former days or former ways.

There is no way to return to one’s previous state after experiencing so great a mental, emotional, and even physical change as loss or depression. Even before commencing his journey to the Misty Mountains, Bilbo feared for his own life, terrified of the consequences of his decision to go. When Bilbo questions Gandalf whether he will return from the perilous journey, Gandalf’s response is “No. And if you do… you will not be the same”.

So it is for all who pass through their metaphorical Mount Dooms. The journey is meant to change the sojourner. If not so, there would be no true purpose in the quest. The obvious end result of both Bilbo’s and Frodo’s quests was very different, but the opportunities and consequences were similar. Bilbo ended his journey with a thirst for greater adventure and a new sense of home, whereas Frodo ended his journey with a desire to dwell in peace forever after in the Gray Havens, but neither would ever be the smae again.

Both struggled immensely during their separate journeys, yet one’s appetite for danger and adventure was whetted and the other’s was sated eternally. Neither had ever imagined the situations and outcomes which they faced, but both were consistently offered choices which had the potential to change the fate of friends and even Middle Earth. In the process of choosing, acting, fighting, and prioritizing, both were subtly changed over time. Though he may have missed some portion of his old life, Frodo went on living the life he was allotted. The Shire had not changed at all, but Frodo had become more experienced and had lost and gained more than could be described. Notwithstanding his deep sorrow and pain, he went forward with hope, gentility, and a deep love for those who had been his companions throughout his journey.

Why would he go to the Gray Havens? Because he knew that he was no longer the person he had been prior to his adventure. He knew that he had been sculpted and molded by his sorrows as well as his joys. He knew that he could not return to his former life, and he did not desire so to do.

We are not defined by our scars. We are simply carved deeply by sorrow, creating a fuller space for joy to abound. Returning from our personal Mount Doom’s should not appear as the dragging of defeat, rather the sanctity of success.

Now to those who have stood at the summit and have returned, so laden with grief for loss and so overwhelemed by joy, I ask, “Would victory be so sweet without having suffered such great defeat?”

Myself, I answer, “No.” I am no longer the same person who feared defeat in my youth. Now, I know the solemnity of the struggle. I do not shrink from discomfort, for I have known anguish. My heart overflows with joy because it has been carved out fully by the blade of sorrow. I have fallen, but I would not exchange the fall for anything. For it is because I have fallen that I now know that it is possible to rise, even from the greatest height. Because I have been broken; because I have fallen, I will rise up as a phoenix, becoming the person I was designed to be, and so can you.

© 2018 Liza Marie


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