Can You Promise That I Will Come Back?

Hobbit-MTII’ve seen about every trailer and clip for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. And yet I’ve remained a bit skeptical of the entire project. I loved The Lord of the Rings trilogy. But the thought of turning The Hobbit into another trilogy smacked of corporate greed more than artistic vision.

Then I saw THIS CLIP. I think this 1-minute clip is filled with same ethos that I love in the LOTR movies. What draws me to the LOTR movies are not the special effects, the fantasy, or the violence. It’s those startling moments when the curtain of reality is pulled back and we get a glimpse of true Reality. Moments of purpose, companionship, loyalty, and sacrifice that make sense of the pain and struggles we endure.

Those moments in LOTR continually move me to tears. And the last few sentences of the dialogue between Gandalf and Bilbo in this clip created a severe lump in my throat.

Gandalf: You’ll have a tale or two to tell of your own when you come back.

Bilbo: Can you promise that I will come back?

Gandalf: No… And if you do, you will not be the same.

There are moments in life when I can only shake my head in confusion and disbelief. And asking “Why?” provides no adequate answers. But it’s not those moments that are truly real or defining, despite how real they seem. It’s what, or better yet, Who awaits us at the End that is the True Reality and Purpose for everything.

I think it’s in our nature to want to make sense of what’s happening to us. Why am I sick? Why did I lose my loved one? Why am I lonely? But the meaning can’t be found in the moment. In many ways, it’s only after our life’s journey is complete that we will be able to look back with clear hindsight. But by then it’s too late. The paint on our life will have dried.

So the task in the moment is not to figure out Why but to be crafted through those moments into an ever-increasing image of Who. Because the only promise that awaits us is not that we’ll safely return from the journey, but that we’ll never be the same after the journey.

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