“We have come from God.” ~J. R. R. Tolkien
The ending says it all.
When I completed The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings, originally known as Christian Themes in The Lord of the Rings in 2010, my husband was still alive. After John died, I made myself re-read the book to see if I still believed what I wrote. I did. I edited it and published the second edition the following summer.
Though as time passes and life experiences pile on top of each other I become less sure of myself, yet I become more certain of the tenants of Tolkien-esk truth described in the book. We come from God. The mysteries of faith, hope, and charity, and the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit prove more important than ever. Supernatural reality keeps the planet rotating and our souls reaching for the Son.
The problem of evil—the inconvenient elephant in the room—continues to pursue the human race, more so than ever in our technology-dependent, spiritually-isolated world. I must look to those who have gone before, the saints of old—and some quite recent—who speak, not through the glitter of charming words, infatuating promises, or alluring lifestyles but rather reflect honest goodness, gentle kindness, enduring faithfulness, courageous honesty in a world that turns to Google more often than God.
In the last twelve years, I have lost family and friends to insatiable death, watched communities break down, political divisions rise up, pandemic fears take over, and reason with his sister compassion flee. Most reviewers say that they found hope and comfort in the book. Not because I wrote it or because I suggest anything new or different. Most likely, they simply found a kindred spirit who reflects something they have discovered for themselves. Truth is not mine. I simply share what I see as best I can. That others see something similar says a great deal about humankind’s unifying hope. Other’s less kind have wrung their hands in righteous misery, insisting that my work is preachy, too Christian for their taste, and ruins Tolkien’s masterpiece. Must have missed the part about Tolkien’s faith life informing his work. But there is the inconvenient elephant again. Free choice. No one has to read the book or accept what is said within its pages. True freedom, like responsibility, is not something we fought for and won. Not a right guarded by the laws of the land. But ultimately a supernatural identity is written on our hearts by the God who created us.
Tolkien’s characters reflect the best and worst in humanity in relationship to God because that is who we are and have to decide on any given day. Am I going to be a hero or a villain? Am I going to give in to selfish greedy tendencies or die to self and offer my life to a greater vision?
All good fiction reflects the battle going on inside each of us, which is reflected in the societal and cultural battles all around us. We either become the light lifted for others to follow toward hope and joy, or we snuff out the flickering flames of love, blow to smithereens the fragile chance to get it right this time, crush the handhold of struggling humanity to climb out of demonic dark holes.
I believe in God and in His gifts of the Spirit which lead to fruit by which we shall be known. I also acknowledge that evil is real, extremely powerful, and we can’t save ourselves.
Since the sun rose today, the Earth continues to spin on its axis, and my heart beats in rhythm with life, I choose the ultimate path.
We have come from God.
May we return to Him.
A. K. Frailey is the author of 15 books, a teacher for 35 years, and a homeschooling mother of 8.
Make the most of life’s journey.
For books by A. K. Frailey check out her Amazon Author Page