The Lord of the Rings was an epic movie when it came out (three times that is! Naughty Peter Jackson made us buy three movie tickets for one story). I remember seeing all three parts of the movie with two of my best friends from school at that time. The character that made a dramatic impact on me was Gollum – a little hobbit who transforms slowly into a horrible and treacherous creature because of his corrupted and twisted passion for the One Ring. Throughout the story, he is torn apart by his lust for the Ring and his desire to be free of it. But he doesn’t succeed.
Now you may think that what I’m getting at is identifying something in my own life that has a vice-like grip on me, that blinds me to everything else. That’s not exactly it. Gollum refers to his Ring as ‘my precioussss‘. It’s obvious that he held that above everything else in his life. That got me thinking – What is my precious? What is it that I cannot live without? What is it, that if I lost or had it taken away from me – would pain me the most?
But we must be honest here. This exercise cannot be meaningful if not done honestly and sincerely. As a priest, would I say that my precious is my Bible or my Rosary? I’ll be honest – it’s not. If my Bible was lost, I would probably say “No problem, I’ll just get another one.” It would not hurt me so much. Surprisingly, I would have to say it is my phone. I would probably feel agitated and anxious if I lost my phone. It has all my contacts, email, pictures, important documents and I do so much with it. It is my connection to the wider world. Well, now that’s not really a happy conclusion (for a priest) but there it is.
But then I dug deeper and realised that what would really upset me about losing my phone is losing the ability to remain in contact with my closest friends. Being 3,800 miles away from home makes my phone indispensable for keeping in touch with my loved ones. So it’s not the phone after all; my preciousss are my family and my closest friends who make it a point to keep in touch with me knowing that I am far away from home. There is no greater treasure and nothing more precious in the world that the people who love you and care about you and keep checking up on you. The Lord is close to me wherever I go, but I need the phone for the rest. Now that’s the happy ending that I was hoping for. Gollum RIP.