Frodos vs. Sams

Almost two months has passed since my last post, which is hard to believe. I have learned so much since then – going from the first couple weeks of mostly shadowing at my new job to this past week of being on call by myself and being the only vet in the clinic for a couple days.

I love my job. Ministering to people by helping their furry best friends (or livestock that they depend on).  Sometimes that means client education and vaccines to prevent problems. Sometimes it means fitting the pieces of the puzzle together to figure out a treatment plan. But it can also mean helping them determine when it’s time to say goodbye.

While I enjoy veterinary medicine and can’t imagine doing something else, sometimes I wonder why I ever chose this as a career path. I agonize over decisions I make where missing something or making a mistake could have serious consequences. I always feel guilty about my student loan debt, even though with the system how it is there was no other way for me to become a vet. I have to constantly have to find the middle ground between what’s best for the patient for diagnosing and treating a disease and what the client can afford.

Every day is a new adventure. And every day is tough and exhausting.

And every day I flip flop between wanting to go home and wanting to just hang out at the clinic.

I want to go home and rest, eat, and play with my dog. But I also hate going home to sit/eat/walk/do chores by myself. I get sucked into the black hole of silence where the voices in my head over analyze every aspect of the day and make me want to crawl into a hole and never be seen again.

And then Satan drags me down even further by telling me that I will always be alone. That life is nothing if you are alone.  That I should feel guilty for feeling like my life sucks because I am alone because I could be dealing with “worse” things. And that nobody understands because I am the only one who is alone.

I found this facebook post character comparison enlightening. Mary Nikkel compares Sam and Frodo from The Lord of the Rings.

She describes Sam as being the typical hero everyone thinks about. He overcomes against great external trials – tough terrain, enemy soldiers, blood thirsty beasts, and Frodo’s struggles.

Most of the other characters (Legolas, Aragorn, Gimli, etc.) face similar struggles to Sam, and I feel like most of us believe they are the strongest characters and the heroes we should aspire to be like.

Frodo’s greatest trial on the other hand is internal. He is carrying a mind-consuming ring whose power gets stronger the closer he gets to Mount Doom.

Mary writes: “Frodo’s challenges are the slow, steady erosion of a soul being asked to carry a tremendous internal darkness without being consumed by it.”

That quote just hit me the first time I read it because I felt like that described my journey  to a “T”.

I’m not like the Sam’s of the world who face mostly external struggles – unpleasant work places, difficult relationships, fallen through opportunities, loss of loved ones or property.

I’m a Frodo. Sure I have external struggles (Frodo did too), but my major ones are internal – depression and anxiety. They are the ones that consume so much energy and perseverance to keep going. And part of the reason they are so consuming is because they are always present unlike external struggles where relief is found when circumstances change.

And Frodo’s story gives me hope.

Frodo withstanding the inner fire to get the ring to Mount Doom was as necessary to saving Middle Earth as was Sam fighting off orcs to save him.

Frodos are no less heroes than Sams are. And yet much of the time we think they are. The victories of Sams’ are visible and glorious to see. The victories of Frodos’ are often invisible and difficult for nonFrodos’ to understand, just as it was difficult for Sam to understand what Frodo was going through until he carried the ring for a short time.

I often feel like my life is a waste because I don’t see much external evidence that I’m choosing to follow God and pursue His work.

And yet every day I choose to keep living and not be consumed by the darkness that wants to overtake my mind is a victory that God is using for the good of somebody even if nobody else can see or understand it.

And the only way I can keep from being consumed is by using God’s strength:

“The God who equipped me with strength
    and made my way blameless.
He made my feet like the feet of a deer
    and set me secure on the heights.
 He trains my hands for war,
    so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
 You have given me the shield of your salvation,
    and your right hand supported me,
    and your gentleness made me great.
 You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
    and my feet did not slip.
I pursued my enemies and overtook them,
    and did not turn back till they were consumed.
I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise;
    they fell under my feet.
For you equipped me with strength for the battle;
    you made those who rise against me sink under me.” – Psalm 18: 32 – 39

With God’s strength we consume instead of being consumed whether our enemies or external or internal, so run to Him, friends.