Jeremy Olson has a great blog on the words of Éowyn from LOTR – The Two Towers.
Éowyn states that what she fears most is being caged in so that her life would be lived without valor.
I have just finished seeing the final movie The Return of the King. I love these stories by Tolkien and have read them to my kids as they were growing up. The movies capture the story of these books so well that even the pictures developed in my imagination as I read them are not altered a lot.
I think what we see in LOTR is a common mission – to strike at evil no matter if it costs everything and no matter if the battle is won or lost. Everyone has their own part they have to play and the success of the mission depends on everyone accomplishing their part in the big story – it is all interlinked. So you see the people going into battles that would be considered hopeless because they have to try and defeat evil or die in the process. Dieing is a better fate than becoming evil. And the ultimate quest of Frodo to destroy the ring is not his alone but belongs to everyone that is fighting evil. He could not do it without everyone else doing their part.
The integration of stories is maybe seen best in the role of the elves. The triumph of good with the destruction of the ring will end their existence in Middle Earth. But it will also allow the life in the Shire to go on in its own good way.
I think we all have our places where God wants us to go. We could choose to stay in our cages, whatever they are for us, or listen to him and follow him wherever. I think we, too, are in a long story (to which we know the ending) where we all have our individual parts to play that must be played in order to accomplish what God wants for this world.
We can be caged in by a lot of things. Our church institutions can do this to us if we listen to the leaders of them more than to God. Our human leaders have their own expectations that are not necessarily in sync with God’s plan for our world. This is a big challenge to those of us who are involved in church leadership.
More than institutions, we cage ourselves when we place ourselves and not God at the centre of our lives. So we tend to listen to what is good and safe for us and stay in the cages we make. Like Éowyn we should fear living caged lives with no valor.