Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wednesday with Words: On Being Chosen

At my husband’s suggestion, we recently re-watched The Lord of the Rings series of films.    As we watched, I realized how many little details and themes I never really noticed before and was inspired to re-read the books again.   I had tried to read the books in middle school, but found I wasn’t really ready for them.  (They weren’t my usual girly-twaddle repertoire of that era of my life - Babysitter’s Club and various Christian historical fiction romances were more my thing in my tweens and teens, as ashamed as I am to admit that now!)  I did finally read the trilogy the summer before the first of the films was released because I felt like I should – you know, read the book before you see the movie and all that. I was in my early 20's at that time.    Now in my mid-30’s, with that much more life experience under the bridge, I am drawn in.  Fantasy still isn’t really my genre, but the ideas beneath the story – those are what are speaking to me.  I guess there really is truth to what Charlotte Mason says about the child (or adult!) taking in the ideas that they are ready for from a work of history or literature.  What my mind and heart were not ready to receive at 12 or 21, they are receptive to now.  I find especially that I can relate to some of Frodo's inner battle with being chosen for a task that seems daunting, and not really wanting to do it, and yet knowing he must. 

From Frodo’s conversations with Gandalf when he came into possession of the ring, and Gandalf recognizes the significance of the Ring and the necessity to do something about it:
 “ ‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo.  ‘So do I,’ said Gandalf,   ‘and so do all who live to see such times.  But that is not  for them to decide.  All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’”
“ ‘I do really wish to destroy it!’ cried Frodo.  ‘Or, well, to have it destroyed.  I am not made for perilous quests.  I wish I had never seen the Ring!  Why did it come to me? Why was I chosen?’
‘Such questions cannot be answered,’ said Gandalf.  ‘You may be sure that it was not for any merit that others do not possess: nor for power or wisdom, at any rate.  But you have been chosen, and you must therefore use such strength and heart and wits as you have.’”
 “ “I should like to save the Shire, if I could – though there have been times when I thought the inhabitants too stupid and dull for words, and have felt that an earthquake or an invasion of dragons might be good for them.  But I don’t feel like that now.  I feel that as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable: I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again.
   Of course, I have sometimes thought of going away, but I imagined that as a kind of holiday, a series of adventures like Bilbo’s or better, ending in peace.  But this would mean exile, a flight form danger into danger, drawing it after me.  And I suppose I must go alone, if I am to do that and save the Shire.  But I feel very small, and very uprooted, and well – desperate.  The Enemy is so strong and terrible.’”
            ~ JRR Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
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  1. LOTR is one of those books that you can find new things in every time. A living book to be sure!

  2. Thanks for reminding us of the challenges of being chosen to do something arduous but worth it!