Today is one of my favorite holidays of the year: Tolkien Reading Day. The odd thing, though, is that I forgot about it until my day had already begun. Of course, I suppose it’s not that odd considering the odd turn life has taken lately.
For the past few weeks, I feel like I’ve been living in a Twilight Zone episode. (From its original run in the 1950’s and 60’s, just to be clear.) As the pandemic came closer to home, everything began closing its doors. And a miasma of fear and uncertainty followed. Sometimes, the air feels a little clearer, but uncertainty continues to cling like a twilight fog.
Back to today, though. When I finally did realize it was Tolkien Reading Day, the first thing I did was change my shirt. The first Tolkien shirt I found bears the Tree of Gondor. Seven stars, seven stones, and one white tree.
When I saw it, I felt like Sam as he and Frodo trekked into Mordor. They passed a statue of a King of Gondor that had been defaced by the enemy. Its original head lay on the ground, and it reflected the hopelessness of the situation. But then some sunlight broke through the clouds and Sam could only smile. He realized that the King’s fallen head had a crown again–one made of a flowering vine growing over the statue’s brow. It was a whisper of hope.
Like us, Gondor once sat in its own miasma of fear and uncertainty. Mordor’s forces were growing, and Sauron thought he was poised to win the war and conquer all of Middle-earth. Little did he know that the King was on the way and his source of power was about to be destroyed.
While this might not be fictional Gondor, we can hold on to the same hope that Sam felt seeing the statue’s flower crown. The same hope Tolkien clung to through two World Wars.
As Sam so eloquently puts in The Two Towers (film), “Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it’ll shine out the clearer.”
As this moment in history happens, let’s cling to hope too. The King still has his crown, and a new day will come.