The Professor – On Adventures

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The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.
Today and tomorrow are yet to be said.
The chances, the changes are all yours to make.
The mold of your life is in your hands to break.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

 Yellow Flower

J.R.R. Tolkien once said that “War deepened and sobered my imagination and stimulated my love of fantasy.”   The months in the trenches of WWI made a lasting impression, which is reflected within his writings.   Even so, J.R.R. Tolkien did not yield to despondency. His response was to embrace life as a grand adventure to be experienced abundantly and completely.

“The mold of your life is in your hands to break” is a gift available to all.   Every day brings fresh possibilities, new journeys and avenues to explore.   Even within solitude, we belong to a complex physical world that continues to demand our full and best participation.  Accepting our role within our community, whether local or global, is the greatest adventure of all.

“Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

The Professor – On Friendship

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“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“Courage Merry, courage for our friends! – Eowyn” 
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

“I’m glad I’m with you, here at the end of all things, Sam.” – Frodo
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

 The Bridge

J.R.R. Tolkien lost his mother at an early age.  Friendships were to be a steadying influence throughout his life.  He was a member of the famous Inklings, a literary society that included among the notables, C.S. Lewis and his elder brother Warren Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams and Tolkien’s son, Christopher.  There was an earlier society, The T.C.B.S. (Tea Club, Barrovian Society) named after their meeting place at the Barrow Stores.  The T.C.B.S. members continued to correspond closely, exchanging and critiquing each other’s literary work until 1916.  WWI took a toll on this band of brothers.  Two of his friends, Robert Gilson and Geoffrey Smith, were not destined to outlive the war.  In Geoffrey Smith’s last letter to J.R.R. Tolkien, the message was prophetic:  “Yes, publish… You I am sure are chosen, like Saul among the Children of Israel. Make haste, before you come out to this orgy of death cruelty… May God bless you, John Ronald, and may you say the things I have tried to say long after I am not here to say them, if such is my lot.”

In his writings, J.R.R. Tolkien celebrated and acknowledged the great deeds that were done in the name of friendship. He made good on his promise to his much-loved friend, Geoffrey Smith.

The Professor

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“Not all who wander are lost.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

The Forest

The Hobbit will be in theatres as early as next week much to the delight of J.R.R. Tolkien fans.  I first read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy when I was fifteen and have come back time and time again to revisit the land of Middle Earth.  J.R.R.Tolkien or the Professor as many called him, created elaborate legends which included dwarfs, elves, hobbits, trolls, orcs, goblins, wizards and the ring of power. He has been regularly condemned by some in the English literature establishment, but loved by millions of readers worldwide.

The Professor’s writing style was complex, detailed, even rambling.  And yet, his messages are simple, clear, and powerful. This week, I want to explore some themes that have inspired me on my journey.