“It’s like 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 has 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’ll shine out the clearer. I know now folks in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something. That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”
Samwise Gamgee in The Two Towers (the film version)
I know, another Tolkien quote. Perhaps more accurately, another use of the same Tolkien quote.
I’ve used this quote often when the news of the world was weighing in and making me wonder whether there was still a need to fight, or to stand up for what I believe. Many times that was in a political context.
I’m almost certain I used it last summer when we were still in the very early days of the pandemic lockdown, the pointless violence and riots that plagued our cities, and a nasty election campaign.
What we believe. What we stand for. Those things are still worth fighting for because there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo.
I believe that. It’s just that these days my world seems a little smaller. That is, until I posted on Wednesday and so many of you rallied to offer your prayers and assistance.
One of the, admittedly few, good things to come out of the pandemic is the realization of how much we need each other. Even those of us who are professed introverts.
Somewhere in the midst of our forty-seven years of lockdown, I was diagnosed with cancer. I had to admit that I can’t go through this by myself.
And, I’m not.
As I wrote last Monday, I’m getting through all of this with a little, okay a lot, of help from my friends.
Up until last Wednesday’s somewhat whine of a post, I felt that my circle, while significant, was small.
Let me also say that, yes, the post was a bit of a whine. I was trying to be brutally honest about the situation. I understand that while I am incredibly blessed, this still sucks. So, sure, it was a bit of a whine.
Please send cheese.
Having said that, the response was overwhelming and words of encouragement came from, literally, around the world. It means a great deal. So, I thank you.
Closer to home the goodness continued as a Santa friend came by one evening to chat and to bless me with a
If you’re not familiar with the concept of a prayer shawl these are beautifully crafted (usually knitted or crocheted) wraps that are made as a ministry. With each stitch the name of the recipient is uttered in prayer, or meditation. And many prayer shawl ministries continue to offer the names in prayer over and over.
It was like a summer Christmas hug. I will treasure it.
Saturday, another good friend took me out to breakfast.
I’ve really always known, but now I know with feeling, that I am not walking through this valley alone.
According to the scales I need to be walking a little more of the valley, but let’s not go there right now.
It was the medical care that I’m receiving that really got me to thinking about this during my latest treatment on Friday.
I have been poked, prodded, folded, spindled, and mutilated, and introduced to machines and technology that I had no idea even existed. Or were even needed.
This during all of the pandemic concerns.
At every turn, from the initial diagnosis, I have received the highest, and most compassionate care. Gentle words, cheerful instructions.
On the day of the surgical procedure I had to be at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. and the people taking care of me were cheerful. Almost like they were happy to be there.
I was certainly happy that they were there.
I’m on my regular schedule of daily (weekday) treatments now. It’s a quick in and out. I check in via the computer, go back when they call my name, and I’m out in fifteen minutes. Today will be treatment four of twenty-five.
Every step along the way, the same professionalism, the same caring, the same concern. Whether it’s helping me on the table or helping me sit up after the treatment is done.
Sam’s speech to Frodo comes at a pivotal point in the story. Frodo, overwhelmed by the burden tells Sam that he just can’t go on. Sam reminds him that there’s a reason for their quest. In the end, Frodo acknowledges that he couldn’t have completed the journey alone. He wouldn’t have gotten very far without Sam.
I’m not thrilled with this journey that I’m on. Unlike Frodo, I’m not off to save civilization as we know it, but this task is big enough for me. Like Frodo, I wouldn’t have gotten very far with out the support of family, friends, and some incredible medical professionals.
I am blessed. I am grateful.
Yeah, there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo.
A heckuva lot.
Speaking of incredible people, two of my doctors were featured last week in the Richmond Times Dispatch.
‘He’s such an incredible man’: Father-son doctor duo are treating cancer together
WHAT I’M READING
RANDOM LINKS YOU SHOULD READ
Police union in Virginia blasts McAuliffe, Dem candidates for snubbing invitation
“We are concerned and surprised that none of the Democratic candidates were willing to meet with our representatives and discuss issues that are important to our members,” McGowan told Fox News in a Thursday email. “This is the first time in the history of the Virginia PBA that an entire ticket refused to meet with our law enforcement representatives.” Read More.
YouTube censors human rights channel exposing prison camps in China
Not the Bee
This exclusive from Reuters says that YouTube has blocked the channel of Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights, which has 11,000 videos with over 120 million views that expose the evils of the Chinese communist regime in their labor and reeducation camps in Xinjiang. Read More.
Emperor Palpatine Urges Citizens To Give Up Their Blasters Since They’d Need A Death Star To Beat The Empire
The Babylon Bee
Palpatine was also dismissive of the idea that people need blasters in case they have to overthrow the Empire if it turns tyrannical. “It’s just a ridiculous idea that a rebellion armed with blasters could do anything about us,” he said. “You’d need your own armored, planet-destroying superweapon to match the strength of our Death Star. Even if you had X-Wings, what could they do but scratch its surface? Abandon all hope to rise against us! Abandon!” Read More.
Candy Coating It
Sean of the South
If this world is indeed in a lost cause, then how do you explain Hershey’s bars?
The 9 Best Books on Writing That’ll Help You Master Your Craft
Books have an uncanny power to teach us, to transport us, to move us light years beyond our ordinary lives. If we could only find the right books, the tried-and-true books written by trusted masters. So we keep looking. Read more for the list.
Sunday Firesides: Permission to Be Wholesome, Granted
The Art of Manliness
After being inspired by a family who exemplified genuine, guileless happiness to give up a hedonistic lifestyle and adopt their faith, a friend of writer Rod Dreher told him: “I realized later that I just needed somebody to give me permission to be wholesome.” Read More.
55+ Literary Devices & Techniques That’ll Elevate Your Writing
Your knowledge and skillful use of literary techniques will catapult you above the hordes of wannabe writers, increasing your self-confidence, and endowing you with the kind of influence that will keep your audience salivating to consume your work. Read More.
And, because some of y’all need to be reminded:
How to conduct yourself at a Southern funeral
It’s a Southern Thing
I know death and funerals are serious topics. There are those who would frown upon my writing a humor column about them, and whisper something behind my back that ends in, “bless her heart.” But it’s better to laugh now than to laugh the day of the funeral and make somebody’s mama have a come-apart, know what I’m sayin’? Read More.
PODCASTS I’M LISTENING TO
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.