Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fool's Hope

Take a look over to the right. It's ok, really... I want you to take a look at those two quotes over there. They are probably two of the most powerful quotes that I have ever read, and they have had an incredible impact on my life. I thought I would take a moment or two and share why.

The first quote, from Return of the King, is something that has resonated in my soul since the first time I read it many years ago. Yes, I am one of those people... the people who could easily lapse into daydreams of living in Middle Earth. Everyone who reads Tolkien's epic tale tends to identify with one race of Middle Earth beings. One of my very good friends is certain that she has an inner elf. The dwarves, the men of the west, the wizards, the ents, and even little twisted Gollum, all have their followers.

As for me... of course I identify with the hobbits of the Shire. If you are as yet unfamiliar with my distant cousins (three or four times removed, of course), I defer to the prologue of Fellowship of the Ring and Master Tolkien's very thorough description. For those who just need a refresher, let me remind you that hobbits are very mellow creatures who love peace and quiet, and 'good-tilled earth'. They derive great pleasure out of the simple things in life like good books, good food and wine, and good friends. They are short of stature, rotund, and have large hairy feet. Most abhor adventure and never stray much further than the end of their own lane. Sound like anyone you know? ;) (minus the hairy feet... I think it's a recessive gene)

At the point in the story where you would encounter the quote to the right you would find four young hobbits on a quest to do that which would seem impossible, to destroy the source of all evil. Two are making their way closer to the center of Mordor, the land of darkness and despair. One is preparing to ride into battle with the men of the Rohirim. And the last, Pippin, is watching the dark armies mass outside the gates of Minas Tirith, the great white city. It is that moment when all seems lost, when it would take a miracle for any of them to survive let alone succeed, that Pippin seeks comfort from his wise friend Gandalf.

But instead of providing reassurance that all will be well, Gandalf lets Pippin know that not all things end well in our world. To be cliche, bad things happen to good people. We can rail against it, hang onto our dreams of peace, be dragged from our hobbit-holes kicking and screaming, but we will all have to face the battle someday.

The second quote, from 1 Corinthians, is something I didn't come across until I was in college. Somehow I had always skimmed past it.

"For the message of the cross is foolishness..."

Sometimes we are so deep in our personal darkness, so caught up in worrying about the approaching armies of monsters, that when we are offered a ray hope we laugh at it. It's a fool's hope... only a complete idiot would believe that there is any way out of this mess.

Only a fool would believe that a creature as humble as a hobbit could destroy the ring of power. Only a fool would believe that a man who died on a cross two thousand years ago can save us from death.

Some of you, humble readers, if you have read this far, are cringing now. You weren't prepared for a mini-sermon. If it has come across that way, I apologize. It is not my place to preach, only to share where my hope comes from in the midst of the battles I face.

This fool will continue to hope...


  1. Oh I LOOOOVE Lord of the Rings and so appreciate the quote you posted (and your comments on it). I'm hoping to give birth on March 25, the day that Frodo destroyed the ring (Gandalf mentions it toward the end of Return of the King when either Sam or Frodo asks what day it is). I think that would be appropriate. :-)

    Good luck with your testing! I hope the rest of your TTC journey is short. ICLW

  2. I had noticed your quotes when you first put them up. I love hearing your description of why they are important to you.

  3. P.S. I answered your questions about the chowder...

  4. Hope is always needed even when it seems hopeless! I too love Lord of the Rings. Don't ever give up your hope.


  5. Beautiful post!

    Thanks for commenting on my blog!



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