I went to see “The Hobbit” the other day. I’m a bit of a fan, shall we say, of the whole “Lord of the Rings” universe. I have all the LOTR figurines (not dolls as some uninformed friends want to call them) and I’ve seen the movies more times than I’m willing to admit in public. So you can imagine how I’ve been anticipating “The Hobbit” since the day they announced they were making it.
Happily I wasn’t disappointed. It was everything I’d hoped it would be. I even saw it again a few days later in
3D. In Spanish this time mind you…but
In each of the LOTR movies there’s always a scene that
sticks with me. It’s not the big battle
scene or the scene with the most special effects. It’s usually a scene that resounds inside of
me for some reason.
The same thing happened in this movie and you might be
surprised at what it was that stuck with me.
Near the beginning of the story, Bilbo receives a visit from
Gandalf the wizard. Gandalf invites him
to go on a grand adventure which Bilbo quickly and summarily dismisses. Bilbo, you see, is a Hobbit, and Hobbits are generally
happy and content with the predictability of their lives. They don’t relish anyone or anything that
might disrupt the peacefulness and tranquility they enjoy. Bilbo was no exception.
Then something happens to Bilbo. Dwarves start arriving at his doorstep. Rowdy, excited (and hungry) dwarves. They turn his tiny, uncluttered house upside
down with their singing and dancing, eating and just general revelry. It about drives poor Bilbo crazy.
Gandalf eventually returns and quite enjoys the party that
has invaded Bilbo’s quiet little home and the discomfort it’s caused
Bilbo. Later in the evening when things
have calmed down somewhat, he again presses Bilbo to accompany this band of
dwarves on the mission they’ve set before themselves.
Bilbo looks at Gandalf and then asks this question.
“Can you promise me I’ll come back?”
To which Gandalf replies, “No, and if you do, you will not
be the same.”
Bilbo thinks for a moment and then once again declines the
Everyone eventually falls asleep until the next morning when
Bilbo awakens expecting to be surrounded by the same chaos that filled his
house the night before. What he finds,
however, is that his perfect little house and life has been restored to
him. Everything is neatly in its place
and the house is once again quiet and ordered.
As Bilbo walks from silent room to silent room you can see
him contemplating the situation. His
life is as it was…serene, peaceful and uncomplicated.
The next thing you know (and this is the part I love), he’s
tearing out of his house running after the band of dwarves. He’s jumping over fences and running down
quiet lanes, past his diligent, hardworking neighbours who look at him like he’s
lost his mind.
And of course, he has.
Well, maybe not his whole mind…just that part of it that
yearned for a life of safety and security.
Until that moment, Bilbo’s whole existence had been about maintaining
that sense of predictability. Then in a flash,
that safe, secure and peaceful world was completely and utterly disrupted.
Bilbo was given a gift that many people never receive. For a moment he was shown a world that wasn’t
safe. It wasn’t secure or orderly. It certainly wasn't predictable. There was singing and dancing and plates
flying through the air.
In that moment, Bilbo realized that what he had mistaken for
chaos and frivolity in his guests was really a sense purpose and adventure.
These dwarves knew they were each a part of something
greater than themselves and because of that, they were willing to step out into
the unknown. They were prepared to live
lives that would be unpredictable and sometimes dangerous. They knew that win or lose their lives had
meaning and significance and that gave them a great sense of joy.
When Bilbo caught a glimpse of that there was no going back. He knew that the complacency of his earlier life
could not compare to the adventure that had been placed before him.
I remember when I had that same experience. There was no singing or dancing or plates
being tossed through the air (I wish). But
I knew I didn’t want to live a life centered around being safe and secure. I had no idea where that life would lead me
(certainly not to South America to a country I would have been hard pressed to
find on a map), but I was willing to step out into the unknown because I knew I
was a part of something that was so much greater than who I was on my own.
My heart’s desire is that each of us should have that same moment. That moment when we catch a glimpse of the life God is calling us to. It’s not a life of complacency or
security or predictability. It’s a life of uncertainty and
disorder and sometimes danger. It’s also
a life of joy and adventure and significance.
“Can you promise me I’ll come back?” asked Bilbo.
“No,” replied Gandalf, “and if you do, you will not be the