New Adventures for a New Year

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – Bilbo Baggins, The Lord of the Rings

I was about 12 years old when I first learned of hobbits: peaceful, fun-loving homebodies who loved to eat.

Oh the joy of the day I discovered that second breakfast is a real thing… At least in Hobbiton.

I identified with them because they preferred to stay home in familiar surroundings, preferred not to have adventures, and liked everything to be on orderly and according to plan.

So do I. I love a good plan, and when things go according to (my) plan, I feel like I’ve got it made.

Life, however, as I’m sure you know rarely goes according to plan.

As Frodo the hobbit ponders the adventure he’s setting off on, he reflects on his uncle Bilbo’s words “there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

I think this year will be something of an adventure for me. I’m currently serving in a church whose members have opened their hearts to me, opened their minds to a new way of doing ministry. We don’t know exactly where the path will lead us; where we might be swept off to, but we are ready.

Every year, I like to begin the year with a marathon viewing of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of the Rings.

This became a favorite life tradition of mind following the horrible snow/icepocalypse of 2011. My family and I had been holed up in our house for days. We’d done the Star Wars marathon, the Potterthon and the Indiana Jones trilogy. We needed something to do, and that day my mom triumphed in her quest, at long last, to have a family wide marathon viewing of The Lord of the Rings.

I’ll admit, I used to make fun of my mom for her obsession with Tolkien’s fantasy world of elves and hobbits.

But,viewing the epic story from start to finish definitely changed my mind. I felt myself getting lost in the moment when Sam tells Frodo he doesn’t mean to leave Frodo’s side; and by the time we reached the part where Sam says “come on Mr. Frodo. I can’t carry the ring, but I can carry you,” I was reduced to a blubbering mess of salty tears, wondering what I was even doing with my life; rethinking the validity of living just to survive.

I wanted an adventure too, and that day, the hobbits spoke to me. They still do, as this year I’ve decided to read the books instead of watching the movies. The poetry is mesmerizing, the lyricism quaint, the Shire is beautiful and the adventures are great.

As Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin, the four fiercely courageous hobbits embrace the adventure ahead of them, I’m always inspired to embrace the coming year as an adventure.

This year I’m excited to begin more ministry adventures with Scott Boulevard Baptist Church and will be looking forward to finding ways to encourage others and be encouraged myself as we each embrace our special roles in God’s great adventure.

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