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The Strength to Carry On

In J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Fellowship of the Ring," Frodo Baggins and his companions find themselves lost in the deep, dark and extremely deadly mines of Moria. Weighed down and discouraged by the burden of his seemingly hopeless mission to destroy the Ring of Power, Frodo tells his wise and helpful guide, Gandalf, that he regrets that the responsibility of bearing the ring had ever come to him. "I wish it need not have happened in my time," says Frodo.

With gentleness in his eyes, Gandalf replies, "So do I; and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Like Frodo, it's easy for us to sometimes feel that we are caught up in situations that are beyond our control; situations that are so heavy that it can seem almost impossible to come out from under the weight of them. These situations can breed feelings of helplessness, frustration, bitterness, anger, and despair. In these times, it would be easy to simply lay down, give up, and concede defeat to our circumstances.

However, as Gandalf encouragingly reminds his young friend, while we may have little control over the events of our time, we have absolute control over how we respond to them. That decision is ours and ours alone. When life knocks us down through any of its troubles, we have a choice to either lie there and quit or get back up and keep moving ahead. Frodo chose to keep moving and in the end, despite impossible odds, he saw his mission through.

So next time you find yourself in a tough situation or living through a difficult time, press on. As with all things, in time, this too shall pass. Don't give up; the next step of your journey may be the most important one of all.

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