I am tired. Sam, I want to give the ring back. It has been a very difficult week. Peace is under attack. I fear its demise if its proponents react in fear rather than rallying around a common vision and crafting its own battle plan and not reacting to its enemies’.
I have no voice. I can’t lecture or speak. I can’t stand up in front of a room to “teach” them how to do it. To impart the “answer.” I can’t be on on a panel to spread my wisdom. The words cannot convey the emotion of what I have seen and experienced in war torn countries. My words cannot do justice to the experiences of all those who I have met in these countries. I have no directions on what to do or what to tell them on how to build rule of law, peace. I am tired. I have carried the ring thus far and don’t know if I have the strength to carry it any farther.
Then there is a part of me that says: Don’t despair. Don’t give up. Soldier on. Darkness prevails when light allows itself to flicker out. Plant a seed. Take a step. Seems futile? Don’t succumb to that. Plant a seed. Take a step. Do it with like-minded kindred spirits. Connect with other ring bearers. When needed, step back and accept the support of others. Be the voice of those whose voices are barely a whisper under the weight of the burden.
So I want to be the conveyer of other voices. I want to be a conduit for them. I can no longer stand up and use my own words. I have nothing to say. That’s okay. Be their voice. Plant a seed. Take a step. Be supported. Support others.
After my time teaching a few weeks ago, I felt a heavy burden of feeling like I have been doing “this work” for so very long yet feeling like we have made so little progress. We are talking about the same issues but the heavy challenges remain. How long can we carry the ring? Exhausted by it but at the same time, feeling like we can’t stop. But we must carry on. Sometimes carrying the ring and sometimes supporting those who carry the ring.
After the training and my return home, my dear friend and colleague, Colonel John Phelps (retired) who worked with me on the training, sent to me the following e-mail:
“You did a great job at the seminar and carried the Ring forward many a mile. I think perhaps that there are many Rings to be borne. Some we will be able to throw into the Fires of Mordor while other we will only be able to move forward but a short distance. Others we will not even be able to lift up no matter how hard we try. When you need a Samwise Gamgee to accompany you on your journey just let me know. I will do likewise when I have a heavy ring to bear. Thanks again. Sincerely, Sometimes Frodo, Sometimes Sam.”
So I am tired tonight after a day of battle. I will rest. Then perhaps I will have the strength to carry the ring, just one more day. The people I have worked with in conflict zones do not have the option of walking away. So soldier on I will, as I always do, because we must get the ring to Mordor because if we drop the Ring now, who knows who will pick it up next?