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Eowyn: Shieldmaiden of Rohan

     "Unnoticed a Rider came up and spoke softly in the hobbit's ear. 'Where will wants not, a way opens, so we say,' he whispered; 'and so I have found myself.' Merry looked up and saw that it was the young Rider whom he had noticed in the morning. 'You wish to go whither the Lord of the Mark goes: I see it in your face.'

     'I do,' said Merry.

     'Then you shall go with me,' said the Rider. 'I will bear you before me, under my cloak until we are far afield, and this darkness is yet darker. Such good will not be denied. Say no more to any man, but come!'" (The Lord of the Ring)

Eowyn: Shieldmaiden of Rohan

Eowyn's tale is a complicated one. Almost tragic, yet it speaks so closely to our own lives. In love with Aragorn she realizes that her competition, namely Arwyn, far surpasses her, not just because of Arwyn's beauty and elvish heritage, but because Aragorn already loves her. Yet it is when Aragorn choses the "Paths of the Dead" that Eowyn looses all hope. Her despair is when Theoden King of Rohan refuses to allow her to join Rohan's army in battle to aid Gondor. The reason for this is that she wishes to die, and if she is to die she wishes to die honorably, in the service of her country. She dresses like a man and goes anyway, taking with her Merry. Her desception is rewarded by her witnessing the death of Theoden King. In that moment, out of her deepest despair, she rises up, as only one can who has nothing else to lose, to face the Captain of the Nazgul. While she succeeds in slaying the Nazgul, something no man could do, she is mortally wounded. More than that she has no wish to recover. Yet there in the Houses of Healing she meets Faramir and falls in love. In the end they are married and Aragorn, King of Gondor, gave Ithilien to Faramir to rule under him. Faramir ruled with Eowyn at his side. So then hope found a way at last, through love.

So it is with us. We fix our eyes upon something or someone and find it nearly unattainable. Yet the enemy keeps tempting us with this. Now there's nothing wrong with whatever that may be, necessarily, but our fixation with it makes it wrong. We are left desolute, without hope and plummetting into deep despair. We devise ways in which to achieve that goal and our despair is only made the worse. So we give up. We look to find and end, but for the most part, an honorable end. Perhaps this is why many young men and women volunteer for active combat duties. They wish to die defending their country, just as Eowyn wished. And at that final moment, when despair is come to full blosom, we find we have nothing to lose and make a heroic stand, not because we are heroic, but because we wish to die. It is then that God's love reaches out to us and says, "Not yet! I have work for you, My child." Wounded in body and spirit, emotionally destroyed we wait for death to take us, but it will not. For Jesus overcame Death on the Cross. When we realize the vastness of His love towards us at that moment we fall in love with One greater than Aragorn, One who is King of ALL kings. And this Jesus, this Lord of all creation, asks us to live with Him eternally, to share His love and His joy and His peace forever in His house. We are broken down only to be made anew.

The one story in Scripture Eowyn reminds me of is that of Ruth, who leaves her own country and follows Naomi, her mother-in-law, back to Israel. Although Naomi tried to pursuade Ruth to go back to her people she refused and clung to Naomi. The end result is that Ruth became part of the lineage of Jesus Christ. She had lost her husband, only to find another man, a man of God through whom God would raise up His Annointed. May we be like Ruth, and hang on to that final thread of hope. For in that we shall, like her and Eowyn, find not just fulfillment, but overflowing riches.

     "And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me. And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her. So they two went until they came to Bethlehem." (Ruth 1:11-19a)