In J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings saga, Samwise Gamgee is gifted with a small carved box of soil from Lothlorien by Queen Galadriel, the Lady of Light. When he returned home to his beloved Shire, ravaged by Saruman and his minions, Sam opened the box and allowed a fair wind to carry the soil all throughout the Shire. The power inherent in that small patch of dirt returned the Shire to its former glory and more in time, even flourishing the next generation of hobbit children. It was Sam’s gift and blessing for his faithfulness.
On a shelf in my living room sits a round, hand-carved, wooden box. It was a gift from a dear friend and mentor, a token from her time on the mission field in Malawi, Africa. This friend also calls me her “Samwise”. When she gave me this box and called me her ‘dear Sam’, it made an indelible mark on my heart and soul. There has been many a time when I have sat, holding this box, mulling over something that was weighing on me – a decision to be made, a course of action to take, needed words to say. That box is my reminder that love, faithfulness, and willingness to carry our friends and do for others are part and parcel of, not only the Christian life, but should also be so of life, period. We are people built for interdependence, relationship, and those are built up by these tenets.
I want to live up to this blessed title gifted me by this dearest of friends. I want to be Samwise, not only for her, but for those whom I cross in the world – friend, family, acquaintance, and stranger. Uncle Gandalf does indeed say it quite succinctly: