This is where I think we can be, many times. Not awaiting the journey, not hoping for a journey, but simply signing our name to the location where we are at- to what is in front of us.
There’s something that can get lost in the maze of excitement that the movie and book, The Hobbit.There is a moment that we can forget, but that should be remembered at every twist and turn that the journey takes.
Don’t worry, No Spoilers
No matter whether you read the book or watch the movie, this moment happens so early on that we are almost meant to forget it.
It is the moment that Bilbo wakes in the morning. The night before, a bunch or roughnecked guys who you could tell had gone and looked for trouble and found it had arrived, and had come over very much unannounced.
Bilbo was a guy who lived the quiet life, he had settled down and he was, if I’m guessing right, in his thirties (ok, so he was 50, but let’s keep it in the thirties for good measure). He had done some things, but didn’t have the adventures that he thought that he might have. Even so, he thought, life was good enough as it was, and he was happy with the location that he was in. There was no need to try and expand himself in any way.
Yet there was something that called to him something of his “Took” (pronouced ‘tewk’) family history that called to him in the same way that when we see a person taking incredible risk for reward or laud, we think, as my grandmother would say, “must be the ‘irish’ in them.” While some would take that as a slight to Irish people, I see it as a compliment- people daring to be great, despite what cold, conscious logic would try and steer them clear of- “Let’s have an adventure.”
But Bilbo won’t have it.
He falls asleep to the dwarves’ songs and wakes up to an empty and cleaned house, nothing of the mess it was before. All that he found was the contract, awaiting his signature. That is where I think we can be, many times. Not awaiting the journey, not hoping for a journey, but simply signing our name to the location where we are at- to what is in front of us.
Recently I was part of a brainstorming session where we were trying to think up times were something had worked and times where it had not. The people in my group had a myriad of experiences, both positive and negative, and then we started to think about what worked, what we really enjoyed.
What I realized about that is while thinking about the past is great, We have to think about the very real present. More than asking about past successes, why not look at what is in our hands? Why not look at the options that we have available here and now? If one tries to recreate the past, they are only recreating a shadow, a memory, not something true and real and of the now- it’s flavored by an assumption that we can recreate something from the past and we think we will get the same results. We need to take time and look at, study, and respond to the culture all around us.
The world is interested in what you can bring to it: Your Talents, Your Gifts, and Your Abilities. If you have one, don’t squander it, thinking that you have to fit into a certain mold of existence where you have the job, the house, this, that, and the other.
If you aren’t sure, people LOVE volunteers, and that can fuel a career or even open up new directions, insights and opportunities that you may have never thought possible.
In all of this, we must remember to place our decisions in God’s hands, making sure to commit our plans to him and being honest with ourselves if we can see its not working out. However, we can put all the pressure on God to make the changes for us- like Bilbo, we have to muster up the courage to do.
To sign up.
To put not just a toe, but our whole bodies.
To live is a choice we all must make.