When I'm More Baggins Than Took

I find myself feeling very hobbit like as summer ends and fall rolls in, as the leaves change colors and there are more overcast days (and winter is coming, to mix my stories) and I keep finding that I love Bloomington and Hope more than I did the week before.

(art by Jian Guo... some of my favorite LOTR fan art!)

I'm hobbit like not in the sense of wanting so many meals a day (though I don't object) but in the sense that I don't want adventures, not big ones anyway.

I don't want to go.  I want to stay here, to get a dog and get married and buy a house and have children, to walk these sidewalks that are not crowded with bodies.  I want to stay through the familiar cycle of seasons, year after year.

I don't want to juggle airline tickets and languages and never having enough time to say all the goodbyes, never being able to fade into an afternoon of easy invisibility in the grocery store.

My heart wants to cocoon itself in a safe shell of familiar comfort.  I love home and hearth, friends and food.

And they are good things to love and enjoy.

But the reality is that I live in a world that is ravaged by evil, and dark powers plot and scheme and warp creation, and dragons guard stolen treasure.  A world torn by war and haunted by disease, where kings go crazy and corrupt and advisors give wicked counsel.  I cannot fight all of the battles, push back all of the evil, on my own -- but I should, must, do what I am capable of to join with others and fight.

My sympathies lie entirely with Frodo:

"I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo

"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who see such times.  But that is not for them to decide.  All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

So yes.  Some days and weeks I am not really excited in the least about going to China, although I think it is the right thing for me to do, and it is in fact what I'm planning to do and working towards (and have signed a contract to do!)  Some days... the thought of it makes me sad.

And in such times, I am deeply grateful to JRR Tolkien for giving such a lovely story to us to share, to remind us of how we do fight against evil and, in the end and after great sacrifice, find victory. And home.  I'm grateful to have friends at church who ask how I'm doing and I say, "I'm feeling like a hobbit --" and they say, "and you don't want to leave the Shire?" and hug me and cry with me.

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