Room Enough in Bag End

When all was at last ready Frodo said: “When are you going to join me, Sam?”

Sam looked a bit awkward.

There is no need to come yet, if you don’t want to,” said Frodo. But you know the Gaffer is close at hand, and he will be very well looked after by Widow Rumble.”

“It’s not that, Mr. Frodo,” said Sam, and he was very red.

“Well, what is it?”

“It’s Rosie, Rose Cotton,” said Sam. “It seems she didn’t like my going abroad at all, poor lass; but as I hadn’t spoken, she couldn’t say so.  And I didn’t speak, because I had a job to do first.  But now I have spoken, and she says: “Well, you’ve wasted a year, so why wait longer?” “Wasted?” I says. “I wouldn’t call it that.” Still I see what she means.  I feel torn in two, as you might say.”

“I see,” said Frodo: “you want to get married, and yet you want to live with me in Bag End too? But my dear Sam, how easy! Get married as soon as you can, and then move in with Rosie.  There’s room enough in Bag End for as big a family as you could wish for.”

It’s been so long since I read Lord of the Rings, that I had forgotten Rosie was in the book at all.  I had taken her as one of Peter Jackson’s additions, specifically for the point of demonstrating that Sam and Frodo weren’t gay.  I do remember reading that Jackson felt obliged to play her up a bit, and I think the difference is in our culture, rather than the needs of the plot.  Today the assumption is, that if a man isn’t think a certain way about a woman, then he is most certainly thinking womanly thoughts about another man.  Tolkien’s assumption, that he puts in Sam’s mouth is that, if a man isn’t thinking about a woman, it’s because he has some more urgent business to attend to, and that it isn’t nice to burden a lady with commitments and then forbid her to fulfill them because of other requirements.

So Claudio says:

O my lord,
When you went onward on this ended action,
I looked upon her with a soldier’s eye,
That liked but had a rougher task in hand
Than to drive liking to the name of love.
But now I am returned and that war thoughts
Have left their places vacant, in their rooms
Come thronging soft and delicate desires,
All prompting me how fair young Hero is,
Saying I liked her ere I went to wars.
Today, of course, we think both more and less of the cornerstone act of making families.  The act itself is sacred: nothing more important, to be fulfilled on earliest occasion.  But the commitment, the promise, the house itself, is fleeting, unimportant, effervescent.

Why I want to be an Army Officer

Below is the essay I was required to write as part of the application process for the Army Officer Candidate school. The title isn’t mine – it’s part of the guidelines for the essay. Of course I left out certain motivations, such as “to lift up and encourage the saints who are there,” and “we need the money.”

The first time I considered joining the Army was shortly after September 11, 2001. That was the first time it became spotlessly clear to me that every individual and every organization is responsible to God, not on the basis of their capacity, but their potential. Only America could be the “world’s policeman,” so America, by Providence, is – whether we want it or not. And therefore the role of defending civilization planted itself on our doorstep. Applied to myself as a Christian man, I have a responsibility to provide leadership and protection for my family, for my church, and for my country. Continue reading “Why I want to be an Army Officer”