What Makes Heroes So Heroic?

Ring, Gold, Middle Earth, Golden Ring

All heroes struggle, but it is their very struggle to overcome their weaker selves that their true heroism is born.

Heroes believe in something beyond themselves and their belief leads to conviction and conviction draws them into action.

Heroes keep faith with faith.

Heroes are capable of deep, enduring love.

Heroes offer and receive spiritual gifts.

Heroes pay a price for their choices.

Tolkien loved and wrote about heroes.  In the process—he became one.

J. R. R. Tolkien

In my mind, J. R. R. Tolkien is a heroic figure. He understood that the greatness of humanity lies within each of us through our faithfulness to our daily mission. He was a Catholic, the son of a Catholic convert, and an ardent believer in God. It was under his influence that C.S. Lewis embraced the reality of Christianity.  While a young man, he formed a club with some close friends, and despite the small size of the group, they had some very big aspirations.  They believed that they had a mission to change the world, to make it a better place.  As for many people during World War I, (and later World War II) this vision was put to test when several of Tolkien’s friends died. They were not able to live out their noble aspirations. But in a letter, Tolkien was reminded of their ardent dreams, and he was encouraged to go forward—to fulfill his own potential. He did. An ordinary man in so many ways, yet his faithfulness to his family, to his wife and children, his students, his friends, and his stories reach us today.

After I had read most of his major works and become astonished at his incredible insight and clarity, I decided to read more about him so I could better understand his background and his mindset. In one book (J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter), I read about one of his typical days where his bicycle broke down and he was late for dinner while a stack of papers waited at home to be corrected. I was nearly pulling my hair out thinking about the fact that he could have been home writing great literature.  But then, (after I became more reasonable), I realized it was because he knew how to fix a bicycle, cared about being home for dinner, made it to meetings, and corrected innumerable papers that he was the kind of man who could write so faithfully about the human heart and the reality of suffering as well as the idiosyncratic silliness of common human interactions.

Tolkien, like many of his characters, could not predict the future, but he was engaged in humanity’s struggle to overcome evil, nevertheless.  May I today aspire to the same noble faithfulness of a simple Hobbit—and an honest writer.

Novels by A. K. Frailey

Science Fiction

Last of Her Kind http://amzn.to/2y1HJvg

Newearth: Justine Awakens http://amzn.to/2pq0vWN

Historical Fiction

Melchior—Vengeance Is Mine http://amzn.to/2taeW2r

Historical Fiction & Science Fiction Blend

OldEarth ARAM Encounter https://amzn.to/2KLhlsN

OldEarth Ishtar Encounter (In production)

OldEarth Neb Encounter (In production)

OldEarth Georgios Encounter (In production)

Children’s Book

The Adventures of Tally-Ho http://amzn.to/2sLfcI5

Inspirational Non-Fiction

The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings http://amzn.to/2lWBd00

On His Toes – Life in Hollywood in the Early Days

On His Toes by Irving McDonaldRecently I discovered that my grandfather had written a book and that it was still available on Amazon, so I went ahead and I ordered it. After previewing a few pages, I went ahead and read it to the family.  What an amazing joy it has been!  It is a great story entitled On His Toes written by Irving T. McDonald (who was my mother’s father) and it is all about a young man who goes to work for one of the first movie production companies of his day.

When I realized that this book was published by Dodd, Mead, and Company in 1921, it hit me that this was a first of its kind. The description of the production studios, the property rooms and all the things they used, the demanding but skilled abilities of the director and the actors, the plot involving this young guy trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life and his falling in love with the movie-making business, it sure makes for a great read.

I always knew that my grandfather was a talented man. He was a radio broadcaster for many years, and he worked in various teaching positions throughout his life, but surprisingly, I knew little about him personally.  Reading this book has really helped me to get to know the man behind the name a bit better.

I suppose it is an all too familiar a reality nowadays that we don’t really know the very people who made our lives possible. I recently read my grandmother’s memoirs (which is where I learned about my grandfather’s book) and I discovered that Grandfather almost died during a flu epidemic, but for the kindness of a landlady and the generosity of a doctor, he would have died. My grandfather later married and had six children, one who was my mother.  She grew up and married and had six children, one who was me, and I am now the mother of eight children.  None of us would exist but for the kindness of those two strangers and my grandfather’s strength of spirit, which enabled him to overcome the dangers of his environment and situation.

As I live and work in my little world, I think about all the people who have made my life possible, and I wonder about their lives and how our lives are intertwined even though we may never meet. I wonder about the people who made the car I am driving in, who designed it and who sold it to us.  I wonder about the people who made the roads I drive across and what their lives must have been like as they toiled away on hot summer days bridging rivers and forging through rock across our part of the nation.  I wonder about the doctor who brought me into the world, and I wonder about all my relatives who have passed away, giving me the opportunity to live, to share their home, on earth. I carry their genes in my body, they are the blood of my blood, yet I know little more than their names.

Yet, as I read my grandfather’s book, I came to realize that those who have gone before are not really gone, they are just some place not within my present sight. And then I realize that I am the forerunner of all those who will come after me, and I feel amazed at the thought. I am only granted a small portion of time before I too must move on.  And I wonder who will remember me, and I wonder what will they wonder about…

Novels by A. K. Frailey

Science Fiction

Last of Her Kind  http://amzn.to/2y1HJvg

Newearth: Justine Awakens http://amzn.to/2pq0vWN

Historical Fiction

Melchior—Vengeance Is Mine http://amzn.to/2taeW2r

Historical Fiction & Science Fiction Blend

OldEarth ARAM Encounter https://amzn.to/2KLhlsN

OldEarth Ishtar Encounter (In production)

OldEarth Neb Encounter (In production)

OldEarth Georgios Encounter (In production)

Children’s Book

The Adventures of Tally-Ho http://amzn.to/2sLfcI5

Inspirational Non-Fiction

The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings http://amzn.to/2lWBd00