I am a fan of JRR Tolkien’s books, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Ring Trilogy. One of the endearing characters in these books is Bilbo Baggins who is a hobbit, about half the size of humans as we know them. Hobbits have large hairy feet, voracious appetites and big, big hearts. The passage I am quoting below from “The Fellowship of the Ring” is about Bilbo as he sets off on his last journey at the end of his life.
“Well, that’s that,” he said. “Now I’m off!”
Bilbo chose his favorite stick from the stand.
“Is everything ready? Well let’s start then!”
He stepped out of the front door.
It was a fine night, and the black sky was dotted with stars. He looked up, sniffing the air. “What fun!
What fun to be off again! This is what I have really been longing for, for years! I am as happy now as I have ever been, and that is saying a great deal. But the time has come. I am being swept off my feet at last,” he added, and then in a low voice, as if to himself, he sang softly in the dark:
The Road goes ever on and on
down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
and I must follow, if I can,
pursuing it with eager feet,
until it joins some larger way
where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
I like the language when Bilbo says he is being swept off his feet and on to the Road. He believes he has no choice in the matter as he begins this last adventure, and he goes willingly. In fact he finds he is happier now that he has taken the step and set out on his journey on the Road. Do you notice the word “Road” is capitalized. Bilbo knows the journey has great meaning. It is a spiritual journey in which he trusts the one who has swept him off his feet and on to this Road.
Like Bilbo, we are unclear where our spiritual journey will take us, but we trust the one who has swept us on to this Journey. We walk with joy knowing this is our path and this is our place on it, looking with eagerness to see who will join us along the way and what adventures God has yet in store for us.
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