“And it is not our part here to take thought only for a season, or for a few lives of Men, or for a passing age of the World. We should seek a final end to this menace, even if we do not hope to make one.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien
It strikes me that wisdom and humility go together. That a stroke of wisdom isn’t so without careful consideration of posterity. How wise can any decision be that doesn’t take into account the repercussions that may come – no matter how far down the line?
Tolkien was insistent that his writings didn’t contain a hidden message, or a political commentary. We’ll grant him that. Great writing, however, will take on a life of its own, as readers see themselves and their own circumstances among the pages.
Some days I feel like a hapless bystander watching my earth crumble as its foundations are pulled apart in order to build the structure on top. I don’t think we are quite frightened enough. I don’t think we are wise enough in our plans. How many generations ahead are we planning for; is it our grandchildren? Their grandchildren?
The quote above is taken from The Lord of the Rings, which I am reading again because it’s been too long. This quote would not leave me alone yesterday. It is spoken by Gandalf at the Council of Elrond, when a somewhat easier suggestion is brought forth by Glorfindel that to deal with a great evil thing, the council might hide it, rather than destroy it. And Gandalf says, no, that would only protect themselves, and maybe a few future generations, but it would not get rid of the evil for good.
This makes me think of conflict in general. There are different ways to address differences: Firepower, Totalitarianism, Exploitation, Oppression, Abuse, Imprisonment, Ignoring, and Lying. These things can be effectively used to squash something that exists in opposition to what we think our goals are.
But!!! These methods will never hold indefinitely. These almost always breed retaliation. Maybe not in this generation, maybe not in the next, but eventually Mother Nature (including all her living beings) will fight for survival.
OK, so I’m preaching to the choir here at Zaadz, but let’s try honest engagement. As a species, I’m going to guess that love and patience must be for humans the most difficult path of all, because it is so seldom taken and so seldom suggested on a grand scale. Like with the One Ring in Middle Earth, the only right path is likely the most difficult one of all. And if we’re serious about it, we realize that as nice as “love” and “patience” sound, they really are the most difficult path.
We all know that facing our personal demons requires being totally honest about what’s going on; taking on these truths about ourselves as frightening as they are, and being strong and firm enough to move forward in faith that our work will come to a greater good – that perhaps we don’t even understand yet. Even more challenging is that in order to grow we must love ourselves, and believe ourselves worthy of love, and we must be patient with ourselves in order to have the time to grow and heal.
It is encouraging to have stumbled upon a reminder that my slow and painful method of healing myself is actually the right path to be on. That I am not the only soul who struggles with the future – way into the future. And that even mighty, beautiful, and intelligent elves like Glorfindel would see reason in an incomplete solution, and so I can’t be too hard on myself when I make a mistake.