photo-21 //We are in a room filled floor-ceiling with figurines of heroes.

My eyes take it in and treat it as a history lesson, and also as proof of how inadequate I am, how much I will never rightfully belong in this company of brave ones.

He follows my eyes, then turns to me with a secret: "you know, in a way - all of these were actually let-er down-ers", says Gandalf the Grey [he is much more eloquent in tolkein’s work than in my dreams, apparently].

My tears rise and spill over, unbidden, and I turn in an attempt to hide.

Because if he sees, he will be kind, and that will be the end of my ability to hold up the dam. I know deep inside that I am only a poser in the midst of true heroes - artists and writers fighting for justice, slaying dragons.

One hobbit in the company of a dozen warrior-dwarves.\\

All this was my dream, after falling asleep with words rolling over on the tongue of my undulating mind:

"I ended the movie with tears and a heavy heart…”

no, that's not quite accurate.

“I ended the movie asleep, drifting off with a heavy heart as hobbits and dwarves climbed trees to keep away from orcs. And the tears came afterward in trying to discern this heaviness.”

I knew the moment I could bear it no longer (and gladly succumbed to heavy eyelids). Bilbo had just taken off the ring and rejoined the company of the dwarves, assuring them of his noble purpose of helping them find a home. But he had a trick up his sleeve, and Gandalf saw his self-deception while he was blind to it.

He would use that ring to allow him to be brave.

But then it wasn't real courage because he always had an out. Invisibility. A way of escape. Something to fall back on.

I knew I'd been identifying with Bilbo along the way as I searched plot and dialogue for secret messages and redemptive analogies. But I didn't know until we were speaking of it in the dark that I was afraid.

Afraid that I was deceiving myself, too.

Afraid that I was keeping a trick up my sleeve, even as I answered the call for bravery.

And my love said: "we all do that. Self-deception. I'm sure you are, in some ways. But you're my hero."

The tears came then. With the realization that I can fight this battle flawed. And must.

But the most important part was when I considered what the trick up my sleeve was. It is a form of safety net. Where I step out into the dark bravely, only because I think to myself, unconsciously I suppose, that I can always go back.

But now that I've seen it? I can't.

I have to take the lunging, flying leap into uncharted air-over-canyon, bow in hand, and let him find my footing. Trust. Abandon. Words that sound so nice and pretty until you actually have to do it, jump. Then they scare you spitless.

But here I am, lunging over open space into grace.

AuthorJamie Bonilla