Gift #754: Journey in Middle-Earth

Today I walked out of my front door and went on an adventure in Middle-Earth with Bilbo.  It was a bittersweet experience, as all good stories are, but even more so because this is our last time in this world.  The Lord of the Rings films have been very dear to my heart.  Fellowship of the Rings was the first film I saw in a theater and I’ve followed the journeys ever since, making sure to see every film as it came out (sometimes an embarrassing number of times).  Like many others, my life has been shaped imageby J.R.R. Tolkien’s extraordinary vision and I’m so pleased that the films have found a special place in popular culture.  And I’m very grateful for Peter Jackson taking us back to Middle-Earth to share Bilbo’s adventures with Gandalf and the dwarves.  I deliberately didn’t allow myself to read anything or see any trailers for this third installment because I wanted everything to be a surprise.  I was blown away with it and it certainly exceeded all my expectations.  I especially loved the sweet moments and deep relationships the story explored and I appreciated that the epic battle didn’t overwhelm the heart of Tolkien’s tale.  The adventure ended and Bilbo returned home and the movie brought us full circle to the beginning of the Fellowship of the Rings.  The last shots panned over Bilbo’s map of Middle Earth, and we looked our last upon this precious mythic fairytale which has touched and inspired so many of us.  As the credits rolled, a beautiful song bid us farewell.  And I think this was the most moving part of the movie.

The song “The Last Goodbye” was written and sung by Billy Boyd, who played Pippin in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and hearing his voice was so sweet.  As I listened I thought about all that this song represents.  It is Bilbo’s voice of goodbye to his companions as he heads for home, it is our voice saying goodbye to a world we have loved and let change us, it’s the cast’s and crew’s goodbye to a venture that has spanned over 15 years, and I heard in it Tolkien’s voice speaking to generations he never knew.  What he left us was more than a series of books; it’s a legacy of hope and strength, of joy in simple things, of courage in the face of evil, and the fierce faith that it will be overcome through small acts of kindness and the steadfastness of love.  In journeying to Middle Earth we find our own world and how to live in it.

Under cloud, beneath the stars
Over snow one winter’s morn
I turn at last to paths that lead home
And though where the road then takes me
I cannot tell
We came all this way
But now comes the day
To bid you farewell
Many places I have been
Many sorrows I have seen
But I don’t regret
Nor will I forget
All who took the road with me

Night is now falling
So ends this day
The road is now calling
And I must away
Over hill and under tree
Through lands where never light has shone
By silver streams that run down to the sea

To these memories I will hold
With your blessing I will go
To turn at last to paths that lead home
And though where the road then takes me
I cannot tell
We came all this way
But now comes the day
To bid you farewell

I bid you all a very fond farewell.

Goodbye Middle Earth.  Thank you for everything and I love you.  The final chapter may be told, but I’ll be returning to you soon.

Blessings to you,

Sarah

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