And so ends another year of a Lent of the Lord of the Rings, and over the course of the last sixty-odd days, I hope you have enjoyed taking up J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. As I hope my reflections have shown, it is a tale with depth, a story that forces one to ponder the good, the true, and the beautiful. And though I have not shied away from Christian considerations and Catholic contexts in these posts (hopefully honoring therefore the memory of Tolkien, himself a lifelong Catholic), nevertheless, they are musings meant for everyone, provocations and thoughts I hope helped enriched the book at hand and that will linger with you over the days to come.
To that end, I also impart my humble and sincere gratitude for another year of support and encouragement. It is truly my honor to be able to share my passion and joy for Tolkien’s tale with such a diverse audience, and your reading, comments, and sharing are ever appreciated. Particular thanks belongs to my wife, Laura, for suffering my early hours and audible brainstorming needed to complete this daily task. If you have enjoyed these posts or have stumble upon this site in later days, please consider taking the time to download a copy of the LOTR Lent Schedule 2017 and sharing it with friends and family you think might be interested. I do not know what next year will have in store, but if you “like” the A Lent of the Lord of the Rings page on Facebook or follow @lotrlent on Twitter, you will be the first to learn.
Many days ago before we began this journey, I reflected in my post “On the Return of the Lent” on the “growing darkness” and the “cracks beginning to show.” Alas, the view from the end of these wanderings through Middle-earth seems little brighter or more secure. Time and time again as I read through this beloved volume and penned words upon the digital page I found myself returning to a few lines spoken by Tolkien at a party held in his honor in 1958:
“I look East, West, North, South, and I do not see Sauron. But I see that Saruman has many descendants. We Hobbits have against them no magic weapons. Yet, my gentle hobbits, I give you this toast: To the Hobbits. May they outlast the Sarumans and see spring again in the trees.”
I too look out: East to politics; West to economics; North to culture; South to technology; and neither do I see the menace of Sauron, pure and overwhelming evil unbridled. Instead, I see the descendents of Saruman, also possessing minds of metal and wheels, who speak well and offer tempting opportunity but would betray us to our ruin. As they gather power all about me, I too feel powerless to stop them from uprooting and destroying many of the things I love the most. And though powerless in these times, wishing that they were not mine to endure, nevertheless do Gandalf’s words return to my heart: “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”
For me at least, that will be the challenge of the comings months: discerning what to do with these days that you and I have been given. And though many lands have and may yet be touched by darkness, there still endures a light which we should harken to. To quote (film-version) Samwise Gamgee, “There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”
The road goes ever on and on….
2015’s Conclusion: “An Epilogue of a Lenten Lord of the Rings”