At the Grey Havens

An Essay By Julie // 3/14/2009

The other day, I watched the ending of Return of the King for at least the third time. The movie carried me from the depths of despair to the heights of joy; from the struggle in Mount Doom to the coronation and wedding of Aragorn. But the final scene at the Grey Havens struck me as the most poignant part of the whole trilogy.
The final pages in the book contain this moving conversation between Sam and Frodo:

Return of the King, pages 337-8
“I thought you were going to enjoy the Shire, too, for years and yeas, after all you have done.”
“So I thought too, once. But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them. But you are my heir: all that I had and might have had I leave to you.
And also you have Rose, and Elanor; and Frodo-lad will come, and Rosie-lass, and Merry, and Goldilocks and Pippin, and perhaps more that I cannot see. Your hands and your wits will be needed everywhere. You will be Mayor, of course, as long as you want to be, and the most famous gardener in history; and you will read things out of the Red Book, and keep alive the memory of the age that is gone, so that people will remember the Great Danger, and so love their beloved land even more. And that will keep you as busy and as happy as anyone can be, as long as your part of the Story goes on.”

In the movie version, Frodo ponders the question, “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 can not mend. Some hurts that go too deep... that have taken hold.”
Adventures are wonderful, terrifying things that change you forever. That is true whether it occurs in Middle-Earth or in your backyard, at school or at church camp. They may introduce you to new friends, but they also severe old ties, ones you would rather cling to. The thing that really hit me about the Grey Havens is the loss of friends. Galadriel, Cirdan, Gandalf, Elrond, Bilbo, even Frodo, leave forever. Those who have read The Silmarillion know that this departure marks the end of the Noldar, the oldest of the Elves, those whose forefathers came from Valinor in the West, in Middle Earth. The world is left emptier than before, a little less wondrous and magical, a little more mundane.
Frodo’s comment about some people needing “ to give them [things] up, lose them, so that others may keep them,” reminded me of a quote by Jim Elliot, a missionary who was killed while bringing the gospel to the Auca Indians of Ecuador. Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
Everyone will die someday. There is no use in clinging to things we can’t keep. But there are also things we can’t lose. We cannot lose our salvation. We cannot lose God’s love. Someday, we’ll meet those who have gone before in heaven, and we’ll never be parted again. Even better, we’ll be with God himself. And that is worth any cost.

Comments

Love the essay. The Grey

Love the essay. The Grey Havens makes me cry like every time I watch/read it.
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"Sing as if no one is listening;
Dance like no one is watching;
Live as if you will die tomorrow;
Love like it will never hurt."
-Old Irish Saying

Clare Marie | Sun, 03/15/2009

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"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

Essay

I actually wrote this a few months ago, but I finished re-watching again yesterday...*sniff* sad, ye
---
The Word is alive/and it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless/and afraid...

~"The Word is Alive' by Casting Crowns

May my words be a light that guides others to the True Light and Word.

Julie | Sun, 03/15/2009

Formerly Kestrel

*sniff*

The Havens always give me a weird feeling in my stomach - almost sick, but nearly laughing, and on the edge of tears. Actualy, so does "The Last Battle" and "All my Holy Mountain", but that's beside the point.
Great work, Kestral.

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"I am a dreamer, take me higher, open the sky up, start a fire...I beleive, even if it's just a dream." -Bethany Dillon

LoriAnn | Tue, 03/24/2009

I know

Aslan's death...
And have you read Red by Ted Dekker? Justin's death is awful and wonderful
---
The Word is alive/and it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless/and afraid...

~"The Word is Alive' by Casting Crowns

May my words be a light that guides others to the True Light and Word.

Julie | Fri, 05/01/2009

Formerly Kestrel

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