Monday, August 23, 2010


Crazy week last week. I'm still exhausted, even after a Sunday of rest. Hog show and livestock sale at the county fair, dentist appointments, piano lessons, a birthday party, work day at the "new" church building (more details in a later post), bonfire/cookout at a neighbor's, school with my three highschoolers and one junior-high student, still recovering from this bronchial nastiness,...I was that crazy crying kind of tired by the end of the week.

Steve usually picks out the movie for our weekly family movie night. The majority of the DVD covers displayed at Family Video are so disturbing that I feel like curling up in a fetal position and whimpering five minutes after walking in the door. Last week, however, Steve was helping man a booth at the fair, and movie night was the furthest thing from his mind. No problem - I already knew exactly the movie to watch.

"I'm picking the movie tonight," I announced. "It's one we already have here at the house."

"Oh, no," one of the boys groaned, "not Milo and Otis."


"Napoleon Dynamite?"


"Is it about animals?"

"No, it's not about animals."

"Lots of people, with lots of talking?"

"Hmmm," I thought a moment. "It does have people in it, and talking, but it's not a walkie-talkie." (That's my boys' name for movies like Pride and Prejudice.) "Everyone tackle your chores and we'll start the movie in thirty minutes - you can find out what it is then!"

Popcorn popped, lights out, everyone flopped in front of the TV. No one expected Mom to choose....Fellowship of the Ring, extended version. Four discs later, we're two-thirds of the way through the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. If we get all our schoolwork finished before dinner this evening, tonight we'll watch disc one of Return of the King.

I hate the orcs and all the darkness in these movies. The w-a-y prolonged battle scenes. The heartbreak of Smeagol. The passing of the elves. And where Tolkien was all about the light, Peter Jackson instead got a little too carried away with the darkness. But, after the past couple of weeks, The Lord of the Rings was good medicine. Because the story is epic. Because the movie is epic.

Because life is epic. And sometimes, amid all that seems so wearisome and trivial, I forget that - life is epic. Tolkien vividly reminds me that my life on this planet, as dull and tedious and disheartening and exhausting as it sometimes seems, is part of a grand story, an epic tale, that begins in eternity past and rolls on into eternity future. A story which is the fulfillment of all the epic myths of old.

Tolkien coined the expression euchatastrophe. A euchatastrophe, he wrote, is "the good catastrophe, the sudden joyous 'turn' denies universal final defeat and in so far is evangelium, giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief."

Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief. Epic. Like a weary Frodo, I just needed to be reminded.

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