I was watching “The Two Towers” with my kids the other day, when I realized that they will always think of The Lord of the Rings as a movie and not a book. As someone who saw the movies as a culmination of my love of the books, this seems very wrong.
One of the other things that felt wrong while watching it this time, was what a downer Elrond was. I started making fun of him to my kids, because he was so negative, nothing like he was in the original story. Just when things were darkest and it seemed like all hope was lost, Elrond would show up and say “Yep. We’re all going to die. Let’s jump ship while we still can.”
While it might be easy to give up hope on Middle Earth, with a giant flaming eye trying to take over and all; this got me thinking about how easy it is to abandon hope here on normal earth.
Really, life is full of less than pleasant things. In the book of Job, it says:
Yet man is born to trouble
as surely as sparks fly upward.
When things are not looking good, am I going to be like “Movie Elrond” or someone else? When bad things happen, do I assume the worst or do I look for the positive in each situation? Do I drag everyone down or do I lift them up?
In some ways, this makes me think back to Colin Powell’s brilliant first rule:
It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
When the British people were faced with an invasion by Hitler in 1940, I imagine that most people wanted to just give in to despair. Instead, Winston Churchill said:
If we can stand up…the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.”
These are the exact opposite of “Movie Elrond”.
As leaders, your followers are looking to you and how you respond. Will you abandon hope run for the Undying Lands with the elves, or will you point them toward the broad sunlit uplands?