Living With Our Cages

‘Lord,’ she [Lady Eowyn] said, ‘if you must go, then let me ride in your following.  For I am weary of skulking in the hills, and wish to face peril and battle.’
.        ‘Your duty is with your people,’ he [Aragorn] answered.
.        ‘Too often have I heard of duty,’ she cried.  ‘But am I not of the House of Eorl, a shieldmaiden and not a dry-nurse?  I have waited on faltering feet long enough.  Since they falter no longer, it seems, may I not now spend my life as I will?’
.         ‘Few may do that with honour,’ he answered.  ‘But as for you, lady; did you not accept the charge to govern the people until their lord’s return?  If you had not been chosen, then some marshal or captain would have been set in the same place, and he could not ride away from his charge, were he weary of it or no.’
.         ‘Shall I always be chosen?’ she said bitterly.  ‘Shall I always be left behind when the Riders depart, to mind the house while they win renown, and find food and beds when they return?’
.         ‘A time may come soon,’ he said, ‘when none will return.  Then there will be need of valour without renown, for none shall remember the deeds that are done in the last defence of your homes.  Yet the deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised.’
.         And she answered: ‘All your words are but to say: you are a woman, and your part is in the house.  But when the men have died in battle and honour, you have leave to be burned in the house, for the men will need it no more.  But I am of the House of Eorl and not a serving-woman.  I can ride and wield blade, and I do not fear either pain or death.’
.         ‘What do you fear, lady?’ he asked.
.         ‘A cage,’ she said.  ‘To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.’
.      – Excerpt from The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien

I came across this passage while rereading the greatest adventure that has ever been written after many long years.  The last time I read these words was when the movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, first came out, and since then I have forgotten most of the details of the journey.  And much of what I remember has been warped by the plot of the movies that takes its own twists and turns.

If the makers of the movies had been true to the story and the characters within, we wouldn’t forget how powerful the words have become.  They strike true in the heart and resound throughout our lives.

Lady Eowyn’s words echo true in my heart.  I fear being caught in a cage.  To be restrained by the responsibilities of life.  To be tied to a single place or time.  To grow old knowing that adventure was within my grasp and I let it slip through my fingers.  To become content with a ‘normal’ life.

I am an adventurer.  A self-proclaimed nomad.  And I fear the day when I won’t be able to travel and respond to the calls of my heart to find new places, see new sights, visit long-lost friends, and share my story with others.

The cage takes many forms:  Expectations.  Money.  Jobs.  Commitments.  Duty.

I believe that we all have our cages that we fear.  Too many of us have already accepted them.  They close us off and have forced us into apathy.  We feel that our lives are at a standstill and nothing we do will be capable of getting us free.

But we are wrong.

As Lady Eowyn lay in the House of Healing, we learn of the power of hope and healing.  The cage does not have to contain us, unless we sit idle and allow it too.  She took up the sword and rode with the Rohirrm.  She slayed the Black Rider, Lord of the Nazgul.  Her deeds set her among the queens of great renown.  And while she lay there bewitched by despair, only hope could heal her.

We too can escape from the chains of our cages.  While hope is a start, it takes action.  Courage to take the first step in following the cries of the heart, the calling of God.

Just some thoughts….

God Bless and PEACE


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