One Stormy December Day

My life dramatically changed when I was 14-years-old. It was Christmastime, and my family was staying at a cabin in the mountains with my mom’s extended family for a Christmas get together. A gray and stormy day descended, lashing the redwoods with high winds and torrents of rain. Cooped inside with cabin fever, a group of us decided to venture into the storm to a nearby town to see a movie. I remember my mom being incredibly nervous as my aunt, an LA driver, zigzagged skillfully along the freeways, honking back at other cars, and daringly conquering traffic and weather alike to get us to the theater. After finding the showing sold out, we hastily made our way to a smaller town in search of another theater. If you have ever been to a small mountain town in northern California, you can imagine my surprise upon discovering that there actually was a theater there at all. Even more surprising was that it did not, in fact, play crackly silent movies, but normal, current releases. 

Wet, disheveled, late, and stressed, we took our dirty, old seats somewhere near the back, just in time to catch some of the truly awful previews we wished we had missed. Like a typical oldest child, I had been highly protected, and the most intense movie I had ever seen in a theater up until that point was probably Star Wars. I was excited, I didn’t know what to expect, and I’ll never forget the moment the movie began. I thought my heart must’ve stopped and that I had been transported out of my body. From start to finish, I was breathlessly entranced; I laughed, I cried, I jumped, I closed my eyes… It felt like a wonderful dream and waking up all at the same time. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring had completely captivated me.

“That’s what changed your life at age 14??” you might ask in disappointment. “A movie?” 

Yes and no. You see, it wasn’t just a movie to me. Though I indeed loved all three Lord of the Rings movies, and still do, what happened that day was a far bigger than finding a favorite movie. I felt as though I had found what I was born for. Don’t get me wrong, I had always been a passionate, opinionated person who knew what I did and did not love. Since before I could read or write I had been creating books by drawing pictures and “reading” them aloud to anyone and everyone who would stand still long enough to listen. Writing was nothing new to me. But that stormy December day I fell in love with a story that spoke the language of my heart, a story that inspired me, one I knew would stay with me forever. And, though I did not know it then, that day instilled in me an insatiable passion to write an epic tale of my own. 

There seems no better way to conclude my thoughts than with a quote from The Lord of the Rings itself—one of my very favorites, that summarizes my point in writing this blog perfectly. 

“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”

Frodo: “What are we holding onto, Sam?”

Sam: “That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.”    

Every one of us was born for something; every one of us has a language our heart speaks. What make you come alive? What were you born for?