Gandalf. ‘Tall man, tall hat, walked softly, carried a big stick, big beard … a wilder man from the Lord of the Rings trilogy … He embarked on a road trip with some hobbits, a Gimli, a Legolas, and two fellas – – – Aragorn & Boromir.
The Fellowship … left to right: (Top row) Aragorn, Gandalf, Legolas, Boromir, (bottom row) Sam, Frodo, Merry, Pippin, Gimli. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)The eponymous Fellowship from left to right: (Top row) Aragorn, Gandalf, Legolas, Boromir, (bottom row) Sam, Frodo, Merry, Pippin, Gimli. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Gandalf, a man of character, a man of urgency, left Frodo early in the trilogy, before it was known that Frodo had a ring that was … a number of things; trouble (!); powerful; in demand by some bad folks; controversial.
Gandalf told Frodo to keep the ring safe, to keep the ring secret. When Gandalf returned after a research mission, he expressed the same two concerns: “Is it safe? Is it secret?”; but this time with a countenance of higher anxiety, and a frenzied urgency.
This ring has different meanings for different people. For me, the ring represents a number of areas / components of life. One of them is the heart.
This business of guarding your heart means keeping it safe, keeping it secret. I have found, when it comes to matters of the heart, the word “sacred” means more to me, than “secret”. Of course, in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, one of the key words is “secret”. Yes, the ring must be kept secret … at least as secret as possible.
If men are going to live with / walk with / love with / a redemptive wildness, there must be an urgency … a profound, eloquent, urgency. Yet, there is an emphatic tension happening here. We learn, as men, to (as Gandalf did) walk softly and carry a big stick. Jumping into situations prematurely can leave us with regrets that never fade. The mark(s) left by the dark riders of betrayal teach us … in fact, we are taught well … to be cautious. To balance that caution with urgency, and passion and initiative and sacred stillness and waiting is not a day in the park … There is NO formula. There is NO manual. But, that does not take us off the hook.
We move; we practice stillness. We speak; we listen. We get knocked down / thrown off; we get up. We love. We love well, sometimes; and at other times, we blow it.
“Remember what Bilbo used to say: It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to…”; Frodo to Sam