The Fellowship of SuffeRING

The journey of pain and suffering is a lot like the journey Frodo was asked to take in the classic work written by J.R. Tolkien entitled The Lord of the Rings.  In that series of books and award winning movies, Frodo was given the burden and responsibility of carrying the ring over treacherous terrain to Mordor where it was to be destroyed. 

The fellowship of the ring

The success of Frodo’s journey was due in large part to being surrounded by a group of friends called the “fellowship of the ring”.  These traveling companions were not asked to carry the ring (nor allowed!) but rather to support Frodo and help facilitate safe passage to Mordor so he could destroy the ring.   

Near the end of his journey, Sam one of his closest companions, witnessed Frodo collapsing under the weight of the ring’s burden and proceeded to pick up Frodo in his arms saying, “Frodo, I may not be able to carry the ring but I can carry you!”

This journey of suffering I’ve been on these past several months has been a little like Frodo and the burden of the ring.  The suffering and pain on the most basic level, is a burden I have had to carry in my body.  It has pressed in upon me physically, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically.   And others have not been able to take the suffering upon themselves and carry it for a while.

On another level however, I’ve been surrounded by a “fellowship” of people who have walked beside me, ahead of me and behind me on this journey.  Numerous people, too many to mention, have helped me weather the storms and fight battles I was unable to fight alone. 

There are moments when I think about my life before the accident and wonder what life would have been like without this “incident” but I don’t stay there long. I more often take comfort in the belief that God allowed this suffering to happen to me and not someone else for a greater reason and purpose. 

Frodo questioned his suffering too but Gandalf put it in perspective

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “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.”

A day will come when I will look back on this journey and have a much fuller understanding and appreciation for all that is going on during this season of life.   In the mean time, I take great comfort in the fellowship of friends who continue to travel with me on this journey. 

The fellowship travels with me when they…

  • Show up and sit for a while
  • Send an email or a text
  • Pick up the phone
  • Say a prayer
  • Share their pain
  • Share their pleasure
  • Allow me to help them
  • Cry with me
  • Laugh with me
  • Do the chores I can`t do

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.  I accept the suffering that has been given me to carry but live knowing I have a fellowship who will keep walking with me to the end of this journey.

When have you experienced a fellowship of support during a time of suffering or loss?

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About Cam Taylor

I'm help people live inspired, focused and tenacious lives. I work as a coach, facilitator, author, and speaker.
This entry was posted in Adversity, friendship, Growth, healing, Hope, Laughter, Optimism, Perspective, purpose, suffering and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Fellowship of SuffeRING

  1. Vicky says:

    Happy to be in your fellowship! xoxo

  2. Don Boyd says:

    Hey, Cam; Being fairly new to your life, and as distant as I am, I can only hope that I’ve helped to carry the ‘ring’ in some small way.

    About 8 years ago, four couples, all of whom had just been ‘ousted’ from their ministries, found each other, leaned in together, licked each others’ wounds, cried, laughed, prayed and were honest. Together we leaned on each other and on God. It took a few years, but we have found peace and wholeness, largely through that process. It just proves that you don’t have to be strong or healthy, let alone perfect, to help carry someone else’s burden.

  3. Cam, thanks for bearing the suffering and explaining it to the rest of us. That is a gift to the church.

  4. Shirley Hull says:

    Cam, That is a lovely reminder….”it is what we do with the time we’ve been given”. Your journey of suffering is uniquely yours to carry. I’m so glad you have those along the way who accompany you even if they can’t share the pain. My small part is to pray and encourage when I can. You are using this time very well and very wisely…..Aunt Shirley

  5. Beth says:

    As you know I’ve enjoyed watching ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies again this summer with Justin. The whole idea of being part of a fellowship had greater significance when watching this time around. I have to say it is a privilege to be part of your fellowship, to travel along side you, and to learn about pain and suffering by watching “what you do with the time you’ve been given”. I will not be the same either because of what I’ve learned from you.

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