Today I took pictures of my dad's clothes. That was hard. Nearly every article of clothing caused memory after memory to rise to the surface. Jeff was my champion. He came into the master closet with me to help, but he was *so* helpful that I had to ask him to leave because he was hovering just a bit. Like when James was born. Jeff sat by my head and nervously rubbed my shoulder with his fingers until the skin was raw.
But Jeff knew I would need him. He sat right outside the master closet door and read his book, coughing occasionally to remind me that he was there. My champion. When I had finished photographing Dad's clothes, I came out of the closet and looked at Jeff soberly, just a teeny bit wild around the eyes.
He held me for a long while, silently. I couldn't cry. I also couldn't speak.
I didn't know what to do after that. I didn't feel like doing anything except sitting. I couldn't concentrate on my book, I couldn't start another project, I couldn't play Scrabble on Facebook (and yes, I know you're all wishing I had played in my dazed state), I couldn't do anything.
I decided to watch a movie on my laptop with my headphones. Something not inane. Something epic.
Ah. Lord of the Rings.
I popped in The Fellowship of the Ring and settled down to watch it.
And I learned something.
You know the part where Gandalf the Grey leads the Fellowship through the mines of Moria? He goes where he is afraid to go. He knows the evil he will face. He faces it anyway, for the sake of the Fellowship, for the sake of Middle Earth. He gets everybody safely across the bridge, then turns back to take on the Shadow. He fights fiercely, bellowing at it courageously and covering himself with light the Shadow cannot penetrate. He demonstrates the power of the light, defeating the Shadow by breaking the bridge with his staff and sending it hurling into the abyss. But as the Shadow goes down, its whip snaps up one last time to catch Gandalf's ankle. He falls.
That's how my dad lived. He spend his life fighting evil and guiding people into the light. He railed against the darkness, bellowed at the Shadow, and covered himself with impenetrable light. At the last second, the Shadow whipped out and caught his ankle. He couldn't fight the demons anymore.
But he took the darkness down with him. 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 says, "When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
God gave Dad the victory over death through his Lord Jesus Christ.
As we know, Gandalf returns, robed in white, and eventually participates in the epic battle between good and evil. I cannot wait to see my dad do the same.
I realized all this while the Fellowship stumbled out of the mines and collapsed on the rocks, frozen with grief. It overwhelmed me completely, so I paused the movie and went to YouTube in search of a little video I thought might remind me that Elijah Wood was just acting, and those were fake tears.
Jeff and I were shocked and alarmed the first time we saw Yo Gabba Gabba a few years ago. We are so thankful our boys have outgrown it. It's freaky weird. Before they outgrew it, we saw Elijah Wood guest star. He did a "Dancey Dance" called "The Puppet Master" and I knew watching it would club me out of my LOTR:FOTR immersion.
It did. It's freaky weird.
Then I saw a remix of it that made me positively guffaw, and the spell was entirely broken. Whew. Even though Elijah Wood is not beneath freaky weirdness on a freaky weird kid show, Frodo Baggins is. Thank goodness. Check this out:
(Note: you may need to visit my blog to view this video.)