A couple of thoughts are running randomly through my mind today. I started reading "There and Back Again: An Actor's Tale" by Sean Astin. Most of the first half of the book (the part I've managed to wade through at least) is about his past movies and how they (essentially) led him to the point where he was offered and decided to play Samwise Gamgee in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
He speaks a lot about pivotal points--decisions he had made that had the potential of becoming great moments in his life and career. Great, in the sense that they could prove to be really good or really bad decisions.
TNT is airing the Lord of the Rings trilogy this weekend. They played "Fellowship of the Ring" last night. My mom and I ended up watching it--well, not the TV version, but the extended edition on DVD.
There's a scene that I have always loved in that movie (and I always forget about it until it happens, funny enough). They're sitting in a cave, trying to figure out what direction to go. Gandalf, as the leader, is supposed to be making the decision but is having a hard time figuring out which of the two paths they should take. So they wait. And while they're waiting, Gandalf and Frodo have a bit of a chat about the Ring, Gollum, and Bilbo--all characters who have led them to this point.
Part of the conversation follows.
Frodo: "It's a pity Bilbo didn't kill him when he had the chance."
Gandalf replied "Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo's hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet, for good or ill before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many."
And it got me to thinking about the decisions that we make each and every day--and how seemingly small decisions can prove to have a far more profound effect on others than we realize at the time we're making them. And when I say others, I do mean "others", not just the effect they can have upon ourselves.
True, for the majority of us, those decisions will not necessarily mean the life and death of thousands (as in the case of "The Lord of the Rings", but all the same--those decisions can have a profound effect upon many others in our little corner of the world.
Which brings me to the next part of the scene--where Frodo and Gandalf are talking and Frodo says:
"I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened." And Gandalf's reply was simply:
"So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."
This reminded me of a passage from Scripture in the book of Esther. She was asked by her uncle to try and plead with the king for the lives of her people--the Israelites who were sentenced to death by Haman, the king's assistant simply for the fact that they were from Israel. As they're talking through a messenger and Esther expresses some hesitancy, Mordecai replies to her:
"If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place. But you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this." ~ Esther 4:14
None of us know for sure what grand potential lies within each of us. Yet, we each have a purpose--some not on such a grand scale as saving the world from a truly evil foe (like in "The Lord of the Rings"), but we do have a destiny to each of our lives. Your destiny at this time may seem ambiguous at best (I know mine does), but you have one just the same.
At times I feel more like George Bailey than Frodo Baggins or Aragorn (the man who became King of Middle Earth). George Bailey (from "It's a Wonderful Life") was simply living his life--making decisions about things he considered to be everyday happenings but (as it turns out) led to a far grander purpose. Yes, in terms of his relationship to his little brother (who was a "true" hero in the world's eyes, an obvious one at that), he was always a background character...never really getting the recognition he so richly deserved. But, as he discovered, being in the background is not such a bad place to be.
So whatever my purpose may be, be it grand and obviously significant, or small and seemingly insignificant, I hope to fullfill that purpose--and do so to the best of my ability.
[Edited to Add:] This morning I found this verse in my in-box from Heartlight.org:
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. ~ Psalm 90:12
Thought it was kinda appropriate.