The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Everyone needs their own Sam

Almost every time someone has visited my room this semester, they have had their attention grabbed by a rather peculiar, but fantastic, movie collection on my shelf.

This collection of cinematic adventures explores the nature of growing up and the incredible dreams that we had for ourselves when we were children. This collection of legendary films includes “The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Hercules,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” and “The Fox and the Hound,” each of which has a very special meaning.

“The Lion King” urges watchers to always remember their past, to learn from their mistakes, and to “hakuna matata.” “Aladdin” compels fans to embrace their personal identity because, in the end, the truth always comes out anyway. And “The Fox and the Hound” has for years taught children that friendship is a special bond that should be cherished and never forsaken.

The moral: We should realize that movies often can teach us more about real life than our own experiences.

After all of the movies that I have seen in my life, it took me a great deal of effort to choose the one quotation that held the greatest significance to me. But this passage, a monologue from “The Lord of the Rings” by one of the main characters, Samwise, is one of the most meaningful scenes of any movie I have seen.

It occurs when Frodo and Sam, small and unfamiliar with the outside world, have finally had their hopes broken as they begin to realize that their journey is impossible. But just as Frodo seems ready to give up and return home, Sam reminds him why they must not fail:

“It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories- the ones that really mattered… full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing. Even darkness will pass; a new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine all the clearer.

“Those were the stories that stayed with you and meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think I do understand. I know now. The folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back. Only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding onto something.”

And when Frodo asks, “What are we holding onto, Sam?”

“That there’s some good in this world. And it’s worth fighting for.”

Every time I read these words, I gain so much hope about the human condition. This past week, a man shot and killed eight people in a nursing home. I don’t know why this story kept me in such a funk for so long. After all, the news reports stories like that all the time. I guess I just felt like the massacre was a symbol of what I have begun to feel: a rising sense of hopelessness in the world.

Anyone who has been watching the news these last few months can understand this perspective. But after reading the passage above for my wellness class several days ago, I asked myself: Who is my Sam? Who is the person that gives me happiness every time I see her and reminds me that all that’s wrong with the world is only a passing thing?

My Sam is Almeta Henry. Those students who became burnt out on Umphrey Lee food in the first couple of weeks likely don’t know her, but Almeta has worked at SMU for about 35 years.

But it is not her dedication to her job that I admire about Sam, but what she does on top of her job. Every morning, when I go to my 8 a.m. class, I trudge into the cafeteria and am greeted by an enthusiastic voice: “Good mornin’ baby! How are you?”

Almeta reminds me each and every day of the person I wish I was, a person who never seems to have a bad day, a person who invests in the lives of others. She is my Sam because she genuinely epitomizes a trait that seems so missing from the world today: true joy.

For all my years on this campus and my years beyond, I’m sure I will forever remember her enthusiasm as she compels us all to live every day in the search for joy, to realize that your stressful week will pass and your latest heartbreak can simply be the beginning of a whole new adventure. That there is always “some good in this world.”

Alex Ehmke is a freshman political science, public policy, and economics triple major. He can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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