Have you ever been rambling on about Frodo and Sam's amazing friendship, or Gandalf's awesome sword-fighting moves, or Aragorn's strong need of shampoo to a non-LOTR friend or relative and suddenly been asked 'For crying out LOUD! What is so great about that story anyway???' and you stop. And think about it. And a rush of words and reasons come flooding into your head all at once and you can't make head or tail out of any, so you end up saying something dumb like, 'I dunno' when really you do know, but it's a feeling you just can't explain. Maybe even a stirring of your heart, that makes you long for the goodness and purity of Middle Earth, the honour and justice, the mercy and truth, the self-sacrifice and faith, perseverance in the midst of tragedy, and, perhaps most of all, good fighting against evil, and winning.
As C.S.Lewis once said; ' If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.' And that may sound far-fetched and fantastical, but it isn't really, not if you look at it differently. Even while doing our chores, or surfing the net we long for something more, something we can't quite name, just a faint hope that someday we'll wake up and be the ones saving Middle-Earth with the Fellowship, or maybe Narnia, or really anywhere. Life in this world can seem so dull and, well, pointless at times, especially when we glance up at the Frodo hanging on our wall and ask, 'Why couldn't I have been there...'
Believe it or not, but you HAVE been created for another world, a grand Kingdom that is closer than you realize, as near as a heartbeat, just around the next bend. A place with no more tears, and heartache, no more pains and suffering. A place of perfection, where you will get that glorious adventure you always dreamed of and much more.
So where is this Kingdom? And how do I get there?
Unlike most magical lands you read or hear about, this one cannot be reached through wardrobes, or incantations, or rabbit holes. It cannot be visited and return its guests. Once your there, you can't come back, and the way there is an adventure of itself. It's not an easy road either, and it begins in this world, right here, right now. And it doesn't stop, no, this road 'goes ever on an on, down from the door where it began.'
Frodo decided to take this road. He put his trust and Gandalf and willingly took that dangerous, difficult path with only the hope that someday, it would be over.
Little did he know there was a much greater ending planned for him, something he wouldn't have dared to dream of for himself. The perfect ending, a happy ending. An ending that no one expected for the small hobbit of the Shire.
Of course we all know that Frodo couldn't have accomplished this feat alone. It took the courage and sacrifice of many to finally destroy the Ring. Friendships were built, bonds were strengthened, miracles happened. All leading up to something truly wonderful, something that the imagination of Tolkien alone couldn't have done, without the divine inspiration from the real Kingdom.
So, why do we love The Lord of the Rings so much?
Because we have been created for God's glorious Kingdom of Heaven, and it has been placed in us, 'a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy.' And in the Lord of the Rings we see a reflection of that desire. We see qualities that our society has long forgotten; true friendship, and loyalty, truth and justice, grace and love, perseverance and hope, true love for others. We see characters who hold those qualities and sacrifice themselves for the good of their world. And we see that happy end, where everything finally comes right.
So now, Frodo is standing in the door. He's holding out a hand, asking you to take up the Quest. He's telling you to believe his story for yourself, he wants you to follow.
We know his happy ending, we want it too, what is holding us back?
The Lord of the Rings is a story, as Sam put well “...that stayed with you, that meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why.”
And I believe it will stay with us, it will continue to mean something, it's the rare kind of tale that one never forgets. A story that begs a choice, continue here, or follow Frodo on his journey, a journey that determines the fate of you, and your life in that great Kingdom.
So, what are you going to choose?