One of my favorite movie scenes of all time is from The Return of the King, the third movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I have seen it a hundred times.
The mischievous hobbit, Pippin, is climbing up the cliffside of the castle until he reaches the pile of kindling, stacked and ready. He knocks the oil down, and lights the beacon. Fire after fire is lit, across mountains and snow. Finally, the last one is lit, and the forgotten king, Aragorn runs to the hall to announce to King Theoden that the fires are lit, and “Gondor calls for aid.”
And there is silence. A breath. A hesitation. Though it is there, you can see the yes, there is just that moment of doubt. The brief pause where all could be lost.
“And Rohan will answer.”
Why do I passionately watch this scene each time? At first, I told myself, it was the pivotal moment. It is the moment that tests the spirit of these men. Will they do what is right even if it means all is lost? The Rohirimm choose to answer the call of Gondor and fight against the darkness of Mordor. Even though the outcome of war seems bleak, this is the turning point of the story. This is the part that changes the fate of all people on Middle-Earth.
Over the years, this particular moment in the movie has come to mean more to me. It has become a symbol of creative process. The creative idea burns and lights fire upon fire until it reaches our minds and demands our focus, and we answer.
Within each person lies a pyre of wood and oil, waiting for the flame to set it ablaze. When lit, pyre after pyre blaze into the night to be seen and the message passes through our whole being. It is here the heart begins racing; anticipation allows adrenaline to flow through our veins. We feel the energy of the creative thought coursing through our system. It lights fires across the mountains, illuminating the darkness and the snow within. At each pyre, there is a soldier waiting to set the blaze. Here is the beauty. The sparks, the small flames of hope are always there, waiting. It is the job of our soul to act as a soldier to guard the small flame and pyre, so when the moment comes the fiery burst of creative energy can be released and the call can be made.
We often think of creative energy as belonging to artists, writers, visual designers, but we are so very wrong. Science and math involves a great deal of creative thought. Computer development, teaching, parenthood, athletics…all require an investment of creative energy.
When I hear, “I’m not creative,” I start to look at what the person does in their day, at their job, at home, in the car…and I’m not surprised to find how creative they really are.
Whether you are inventing a cure for a disease or developing new ways to do math, fixing a car engine, or teaching fifteen-year-olds world history, there is a creative fire that lives within you.
When, finally, the call has gone out to the spirit within, we will look upon the last pyre lit, and announce, “The Beacons are lit! You have been called.”
Take that small breath, that one moment to pause, but you feel it…
How will you answer?