Last night I stayed up late with my older boys watching The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. I'd seen the first one a few years ago, but hadn't seen this one before. It was full of warring and bloody fighting. I read the trilogy probably close to 25 years ago and don't remember much about it; especially not the 2nd or 3rd books. Fantasy writing of this type doesn't do much for me.
In this installment of the story, Frodo and Sam are on their way to Isengard to throw the ring into the volcano. Gollum has been following them with the intention of getting back his "precious". He attacks Frodo and Sam and they subdue him and tie him up. As they continue on their journey, Gollum begs to be untied and swears on his precious that he will obey Frodo. Gollum begins to call Frodo "Master" and leads Frodo and Sam through the Dead Marshes to the Black Gate. As they travel, Frodo begins to feel compassion for Gollum and remembers something Gandalf had told him about Gollum. Frodo starts to look for the good in Gollum (what we Quakers call "that of God") and asks Gollum if he is the one that was once called Smeagol. This allows Gollum/Smeagol to connect with the human/hobbit (or whatever) half of his nature and respond to Frodo's kindnesses. But throughout the rest of the journey, he is in almost constant conflict between his two natures. He often has arguments with himself about "getting back his precious from those thieving hobbitses" versus "trusting his master". During this same time, the ring is having a negative affect on Frodo, causing his judgement to be blurred while Sam tries to keep him on the path.
As I sat and thought about this movie, it occurred to me that the character I most relate to is Smeagol/Gollum. I'd like to think of myself as having the bravery and heroic nature of Aragorn or the purity of heart of Frodo, even the loyalty of Sam or the wisdom of Gandalf but truly, what I have is the grasping, clinging, conflicted nature of Smeagol/Gollum.
I want to follow my Master, to trust but I find myself constantly obsessing about my precious-in my case this is my will: I want what I want. When I think about what stands between me and God I know that it is me. I know what is best. I am in control. My heart knows this is not true but my will has the pull of my precious, always controlling and directing my thoughts; affecting all my actions. My Smeagol heart wants to trust and follow God, my Master, but my Gollum nature doesn't want to give up control.
It's easy to say "if only I had the purity of Frodo then I could"... or "if I could be as brave as"... or as wise as...or whatever. I think the one of the beauties in these books is that each creature completely accepts it's own nature, and, until the bad guys want dominion over everything, they live, more or less, in harmony. Of course, Gollum didn't start out Gollum. Gollum began as Smeagol with a hobbit nature and was corrupted by his obsession with his precious.
I know that God has given me a path to walk. I don't believe in destiny or "predestination" or whatever but I do believe that I am doing God's work in this world. Letting God guide me is the only way for me to become aware and let go of my ego.