Many of us love books with stories of difficult quests, strange journeys, valiant heroes and heroines, and the ultimate submission of evil by the forces for goodness, forgiveness, and fellowship. We see this clearly in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Today’s quote takes on special meaning as we look for ways to sustain and inspire hope in our front line workers, especially those in healthcare.
In the context of the quote below, the people of Middle-Earth are desperately seeking a solution to the problem presented by the finding of the One Ring. The Ring appears to have no preference whether it is used for good or ill. But the Elders know that the Ring was forged in evil and will always return to that purpose. The task of destroying the Ring is beyond daunting and feels hopeless. And here we join them:
“‘Despair, or folly?’ said Gandalf. ‘It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not. It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope. Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy! For he is very wise, and weighs all things to a nicety in the scales of his malice. But the only measure that he knows is desire, desire for power; and so he judges all hearts. Into his heart the thought will not enter that any will refuse it, that having the Ring we may seek to destroy it. If we seek this, we shall put him out of reckoning.'”
“‘At least for a while,’ said Elrond. ‘The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.'”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, paperback edition published by Ballantine Books Inc., NY, 1965.