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Posted by: jakinnan | June 11, 2014

Think Mythically

Forest

You will not think clearly about your life until you think mythically. Until you see with the eyes of your heart.

About halfway through their journey—following a great deal of hardship and facing a good deal more—Frodo’s devoted friend and servant, Sam Gamgee, wonders out loud: “I wonder what sort of tale we’ve fallen into?” Sam is at that moment thinking mythically. He is wondering in the right way. His question assumes that there is a story; there is something larger going on. He also assumes that they have somehow tumbled into it; been swept up into it. This is exactly what we’ve lost. Things happen to you. The car breaks down, you have a fight with your spouse, or you suddenly figure out how to fix a problem at work. What is really happening? David Whyte says that we live our lives under a pale sky, “the lost sense that we play out our lives as part of a greater story.”

What sort of tale have I fallen into? is a question that would help us all a great deal if we wondered it for ourselves. After my friend Julie saw The Fellowship of the Ring, she turned to the girl with her and whispered, “We’ve just gotten a clearer view of reality than we usually see.” Yes—that’s the kind of “seeing” we need; that is our reality. What grabbed me was the theatrical trailer for the film. In a brilliantly crafted three-minute summary, the preview captures the essential mythic elements of the story. As scene after scene races before the eyes of the viewer, and a narrator describes the tale, these lines cross the screen:

Fate has chosen him.

A Fellowship will protect him.

Evil will hunt him.

– John Eldredge, Waking the Dead

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