Every day we live is a page of the story of our epic adventure into life. We are protagonists moving forward into some glory or peril. This may sound over-the-top, but it’s true. We’re all Bilbo Baggins on some stage of the journey. Some of us have yet to be made uncomfortable by disrespectful dwarves and cunning wizards. Some of us are being enchanted by the song of long forgotten gold. Some of us are running out the door without our hats. And some of us are discovering we can be brave like we’ve never been before.
A great many of us get stuck before we ever hit the adventure. We’re smoking our pipes on our doorsteps, expecting nothing and pursuing nothing. We have no drive. We have not purpose. We have no forward motion. A lot of us are fine with that, but a few are becoming restless, and inside, our hearts are sinking as the dread mounts, that maybe we’ll never go anywhere. Maybe we’ll never do anything important. Maybe there’s no point to life. Stillness makes us restless, and we can’t shake the feeling that life is passing us by.
Let’s say that’s you. How do you get from the porch steps with pipe in hand to the foot of the Lonely Mountain? How do you become the hobbit who leaves the Shire? Maybe you need to hear the Song.
It was the song of the dwarves that roused Bilbo from his foggy self-important hobbit-existence. It intrigued him. It spoke to him. It pulled him towards an adventure. The quest for the lost kingdom and forgotten gold of the dwarves was a story bigger than his own.
Has a song ever stirred your soul? Has a story filled you with fear and wonder and hope and passion? What words both rouse and break your heart? What realities pull your eyes away from your small existence and entice you with bigger skies? What reason for life is bigger than you are?
Our generations don’t like asking big questions. That’s why we rarely hear those songs. Questions make us uncomfortable. They agitate us like 12 rowdy dwarves rummaging through our cupboards and eating us out of house and home. But if there’s no adventure without a song to rouse you, then there’s not song without uncomfortable dwarves to disconcert you. Likewise, there are no adventures, there is no real life, without big questions.
Why are you here? What is the point of your life? What are you doing with your life? What could you be doing with it? How hard would it be to get from Bagshot Row to the lair of a dragon? To restore a lost kingdom? Are you big enough? Are you small enough? Are you brave enough? Are you good enough? Here’s a hint: short, quick answers are cop-outs. Socrates said that a life unexamined is not worth living. Is your life worth living? It’s okay to be afraid of the answers; it’s not okay to let the fear stop you from asking the questions.
Maybe the biggest, hardest, most intimidating part of Biblo’s adventure wasn’t facing the dragon. Maybe the biggest, hardest, most intimidating part of yours it’s not facing the big things but facing your smallness. Remember: smallness doesn’t stop your adventure, but small-mindedness can. So it’s time. Let the Dwarves in. Hear the song. Ask the questions. Be brave, Bilbo. Be brave.