Everything I needed to know about life I learned from “Lord of the Rings”
by Loren A. Roberts (guru of multi-hyphenate media)
Like many people, I probably dipped my toe into the Rings books a little too early, and so really didn’t get the books the first time around. But then, after college, I tackled the whole thing: The Hobbit, the trilogy, even The Silmarillion -- which I absolutely loved. I have raced through the trilogy at least once every 24 months or so since then, and still enjoy finding things that hadn’t struck me before.
Therefore, I give you five of my reasons that life is like Middle Earth, or, Everything I Needed to Know About Life I Learned from Tolkien. I’m sure this list could hold more than five, but that would require a novel, and this, my friend, is not a novel.
"But it does not seem that I can trust anyone,' said Frodo.
Sam looked at him unhappily. 'It all depends on what you want,' put in Merry. 'You can trust us to stick with you through thick and thin--to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours--closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo."
I think that the older I get, the better I understand that no person is an island. Trust, and mutual acceptance and support, are essential. So is having someone who can call you on your bullshit. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have a group of friends who will listen, share, and walk together on this road of life.
“And then her heart changed, or at least she understood it; and the winter passed, and the sun shone upon her.”
Eowyn’s character has always intrigued me, because this is someone who (SPOILER!) kills one of the big baddies of the story, but also gets the mushy love story (not so much in the movies -- you gotta read the book!). I like to believe that Tolkien actively developed a character who could embody the breadth of what a woman could aspire to: Eowyn excelled at both living in a war-torn world and -- by the end -- was a student of healing -- a tool of peace. She also laid bare the fear of many modern women: to be stuck in "a cage," [Éowyn] said. "To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.” ...
“Long was the way that fate them bore,
O'er stony mountains cold and grey,
Through halls of iron and darkling door,
And woods of nightshade morrowless.
The Sundering Seas between them lay,
And yet at last they met once more,
And long ago they passed away
In the forest singing sorrowless.”
I have had so many conversations with friends who say that they cannot make it through the long poetry in the Lord of the Rings books. Honestly, how are you going to get through life? Read the fine print. Stop and slow down. Look around you. As part of my daily ritual, I make sure to get outside, look at the sky, breathe in a deep breath, and admire its beauty. Same with the rest of life. Slow down, and read the whole thing. Don't skip out on part of life’s experience: it might take a while longer, but there are gems to be found. (See the video below to continue this line of thought...)
“The wide world is all around you. You can fence yourself in, but you cannot forever fence it out.”
One of the elves tells Frodo that, although hobbits think the Shire is a safe, wonderful refuge from the dangers of the outside world, that perception is false and dangerous. Rather, embrace the whole big, confusing world around you, and try to figure it out...because ignoring it is going to come back and bite you later. Good advice. Never believe that you are completely safe. Not that I think you should always have to be nervous about what’s going on around you -- but a healthy amount of vigilance and interest in your surroundings will go a long way to keeping you ready for anything.
FIVE: ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
If I’ve learned nothing else, it’s this: you must move forward. There is no going back. And inaction equals getting swept along the current -- wherever it goes. Proactive, intentional action is necessary to find one’s way in life. “Keeping my feet” means always having some sort of plan -- always intentionally taking the next step that is necessary to achieve the goals I have in life.
Do you have others? Has this collection of books affected you as it has me?
BONUS THANKSGIVING WEEK VIDEO
You don’t know how amazing it is that you have two eyes, two ears, a voice, a brain. It is absolutely mind-blowing that a mass of carbon molecules can do what we can do. Watch the video below to get into the mood for this week:
LOREN A. ROBERTS produces films, videos and music, designs magazines and logos, plays and sings in a rock-and-roll tribute band, and is a student of what happens when science and technology and the arts and culture collide. www.hearkencreative.com
EMAIL HIM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | OTHER POSTS BY THIS AUTHOR