One struggle we all face, especially this time of year, is how to find the strength to keep up with all of our tasks.  Sometimes the problems our kids face can seem insurmountable. The sheer magnitude of the trauma they have suffered, and sometimes what seems to be their stubborn refusal to try to help themselves, can be exhausting.  It seems that nothing we can do will help, and there is no point in continuing.

Since we are talking about movies this week, one place that I have found inspiration is in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I love the books, and the movies managed to highlight some scenes that sometimes forget about.  In the last movie, The Return of the King, two main characters, Sam and Frodo, are making their way to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring.  At one point they stand looking at all of the enemy campsites between them and the mountain.

Frodo says, “There are so many of them.  We’ll never get through unseen!”

Sam replies, “We have to go in there, Mister Frodo.  There’s nothing for it.  Well, let’s make it down the hill for starters, shall we?”

Let’s make it down the hill.  That line always resonates with me.  I have never faced literal enemies, but I have felt that I was battling thousands of problems for the future of my children.  I have thought to myself that I would never get through the challenges.  Each time, it has been someone telling me some version of Sam’s advice that has brought me back from the brink of giving up.  “There’s nothing for it. . . . let’s make it down the hill, for starters.”

I had to learn to stop looking so far into the future, and stop counting up all of the obstacles between my hopes for my children and their present situation.  Just start down the hill, and take the journey one step at a time.

That is not all that we have to, of course.  We have to find ways to replenish our resources, learn techniques from wise and experienced colleagues, and be realistic about how much we can accomplish.  My friend, Amber Jewell, has excellent advice about how to find hope in hardships.  Other writers have helpful tips about how to renew your emotional energy here and here.  All of it, however, requires us to concentrate on taking one step at a time.

Let’s make it down the hill, shall we?


Debbie Ausburn

Helping foster parents and stepparents learn how to be the person who is not supposed to be there.