I hope this letter finds you well. Lately, I have been in a rather strange mood. This current frame of mind I know will influence this letter. Therefore, instead of trying to fight against it and write on frivolous empty things I will pen the interworking’s of this introverted being.
Thinking of you and the adventures of your life has brought me to a poem by J. R. R. Tolkien (you may have heard of him). I believe it is in the first volume of his infamous Lord of the Rings series, The Fellowship of the Ring, that the poem resides:
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not whither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be the blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
I realize that this poem is vastly important to the truth of Aragorn within Tolkien’s tale. If you will allow me to lead you, I’d like to take this poem outside of the story and apply it to this realm of life.
“All that is gold does not glitter.” The reality of life is that we often overlook value. Whether in people, ourselves, relationships, or even just the simple moment. Humanity is constantly looking for things that are catchy and flashy because in the “crowd mentality mindset” these “things” have the most worth. The secret truth is some of the most beautiful and worthwhile things in life are either shrouded by the ordinary or tucked in hidden nooks and crannies. These “things” are worth the effort of seeking and that is what we must remind ourselves of along the journey.
“The old that is strong does not whither, deep roots are not reached by the frost.” Within this I see the marriage of hope and growth. From what I know of life this marriage is the birthplace of endurance. It is here where humanity can see and taste that what has been forged in strength no matter how old it has become can dwell in resilience against all odds. The truth is that as human beings we are made for amazing feats; our built in purpose and destiny should we choose to accept and pursue it will never die, it will never be touched by the frost.
“From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring.” And here is the place we find redemption. Amongst the ashes a spark and within the shadows a light. Both moments when all hope seems to be lost and the darkness seems to have won, redemption breaks in like a rushing wind. Stirring us up, freeing us from constraint, and urging us into movement, into more.
“Renewed shall be the blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king.” This reminds me of a line from the Lion King. Mufasa in his cloud form says to Simba “you are more than what you have become.” Sometimes we break, sometimes we lose our crown, sometimes we get a little lost along the way but each one of us has the potential to be renewed, to be king again, to find the correct path. As long as our heart is beating we still retain the potential of living out our destiny victoriously. Sometimes, though, that is the hardest thing to believe.
You probably noticed by now that I skipped the second line within Tolkien’s poem and that is because I wanted to end with it. “Not all those who wander are lost.” Within this line I find the most contention within my own heart. I want to believe that not everyone who wanders is lost but I see the world and think to myself that everyone is searching and trying to find their missing piece. You see in some way, shape, or form every person has something about them that is lost. So we wander trying to find our purpose, trying to find our love, trying to find the point, but most of all trying to find who we really are. Our quests for adventure, our wanderlust, and even our simplest wanderings are all about finding the hidden truth in the unknown. Finding something we never thought we’d see, or always hoped for, and most of all discovering something we never imagined. Maybe wandering isn’t about being lost but instead about finding truth, the truth of us, the truth of beauty, and the truth of the unknown. Friend, I hope that your wanderings bring you truth, adventure, fulfillment, and a full heart.