Unlocking Tolkein

Here are my ideas about some of Tolkein’s classic riddles:

“All who wander are not lost.”

Think about how neatly our lives are segmented.  We live in square houses on rectangle streets and get into oblong cars to go down perpendicular roads and wait in line at the cross intersection.  We park in straight lines and go to air-conditioned cubes to learn or work or both.  The only time we really wander is when we don’t know our directions.

Efficiency has its place but it is not all God intends.  If we don’t add long walks and sunsets and mountain views into our lives, we’re missing the glory of winding paths and unkempt flowers.

“Deep roots are never reached by frost.”

Ever notice how a winter storm seems to totally take out a plant or tree?  It looks devastated and worth throwing into the fire.  Yet, in the spring, its life blossoms.  The plants’ roots run deep and, therefore, life never completely leaves.  In the same way, no matter how devastating life becomes, if we’re rooted deep in the right soil, we will make it and blossom with the coming spring.

“All that is gold does not glitter.”

The most precious minerals and gems may be very unimpressive in their natural state.  Only when these elements meet the hands of a gifted craftsman do they take on their splendor.  It is no accident that Jesus was a carpenter and creates beauty with wood, stone and souls.

“And the old that is wise does not wither.”

If you’ve ever had a gentle and loving Grandfather, you never think of him as old.  He’s just Grandad – a constant source of affection in your heart.  His direction and life experience are with you always.  Anything that is older, whether books or music or humans, if it is grafted into truth and love, will never wither even after it seems to disappear.