One of my favorite examples of courage and uncertainty comes from Lord of the Rings.
Early in the story, there is a council where great leaders from the different peoples of Middle Earth are arguing what to do about the one ring. Famous Dwarf, Elf, and Human fighters and wizards all try to show that they are brave, and full of bluster they fight over how to destroy this ring that has the power to destroy them all.
The only way the ring can be destroyed is to throw it into a volcano in Mordor, in the heart of the evil Sauron’s territory. And even though all of the heroes want to seem brave and strong, they are all afraid to take the ring there.
And so the argument continues.
Until one person, Frodo Baggins, a small hobbit speaks up. He is no heroe. He has won no battles and he knows no magic.
Frodo steps forward and says, “I will take the ring to Modor! [pause] Though… I do not know the way.”
Can you be like Frodo? Can you take on task even when you do not know the way?
Often in peacemaking and jusice organizing, we are called to great challenges: fighting racism, trying to end wars, working to rebuild communities. And we often do not know they way.
We are often called to work we feel unprepared for, when we do not know the way.
In all honesty, I do not know the way to peace in Iraq of Israel/Palestine. I do not know how to stop global warming.
And by humbly admitting what I do not know, I am open to new insight into how to proceed.
This sense of being sent out and receiving guidance along the path is also a common theme in the Bible. When Moses was sent to Pharoah, God promised guidance, saying “I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (Exodus 4:12)
Isaiah writes, “I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8).
And in the New Testament, Jesus tells his followers when they face persecuting by the authories that they should “not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say” (Luke 12:11-12)
Do not let not knowing the way stop you from beginning, there is a community with you to support you.
In Lord of the Rings, after Frodo volunteered to take the ring, he did not go alone. The heroes shared the journey with him, as did his loyal friend Sam. All of them together played a role in overcoming Sauron.
In our work for peace and justice, may we, like Frodo, have the courage to go forward even when we do not know the way, and if we surround ourselves with a supportive community.