Normally at around the end of the year or the beginning of the new year I write up a post looking back at the new year and/or looking forward to the new year. All of my journal-writing energy right up until the end of 2012, though, was focused on my magnum opus on The Hobbit, and I think that burned me out a bit.
So now we are ten days into the new year (happy 2013, by the way!), and I’ve been a little too busy to really give much thought to retrospection or resolutions or anything like that. Last year was a mixed bag, to tell you the truth, with some very good things happening and some very bad things happening. If nothing else, I guess it was dramatic. I have no idea what this year is going to be like. There are things that I am hoping will happen, but whether or not they will actually happen is anybody’s guess.
So, by way of kicking off the new year and easing myself back into this after spraining every writing muscle in my body after my last entry, I’m going to go with an echo today. Writing all those Tolkien-related entries really got me thinking about both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, both the films and the books. I talked a lot about the Ring, and to tell you the truth I’ve always been fascinated by it. I’ve asked myself: if I were Frodo, would I be able to cast the Ring into the fires of Mt. Doom? Of all the sentient creatures to ever possess the Ring, only Bilbo gave it up freely, and that was before Sauron had turned all his attention to finding it and corrupting the Ringbearer. (Update 2013.1.15 – A few days ago I was thinking about this and I realized that the previous sentence is incorrect. In fact, Sam was briefly a Ringbearer himself, when he bore the Ring after Frodo was paralyzed by Shelob, and before he later gave it back (albeit reluctantly). This makes Samwise Gamgee the only being in Middle Earth to possess the Ring, know exactly what it was, and still give it up freely.) Would I be able to stand on the precipice and let it go?
Most people realize, I think, that the Ring symbolizes the temptation of absolute power. I don’t think there is a human being on earth who wouldn’t like a little more power in their lives, but if you’re anything like me, the idea of absolute power frightens you a bit. This is why Faramir says he would not pick up the Ring if it lay by the wayside—not because he doesn’t want power, but because he knows that it would corrupt him.
But this is all a bit abstract, to be honest. I will admit that I find it a little hard to wrap my head around the Ring. While I’m reading the books or watching the films, it is easy to get caught up in the story, but when I take a step back I think to myself, “Well, it’s just a ring, after all. How hard could it really be to give up?” And it’s funny, because while I was writing all those Tolkien-related entries, I started thinking about the Ring in real-life terms, and when I did that it suddenly didn’t seem so simple anymore. That is, I started thinking about all the things in my life that I felt I needed. Was there anything that I couldn’t give up, that I couldn’t live without? It’s interesting the things we get attached to—especially since, in the end, you can’t take any of it with you.
So I wonder: what is my Ring? What is the thing that, when faced with a critical choice, would prevent me from making the decision I know to be right? I don’t know the answer to that yet, but I do know that I am more attached to things than I should be. This is what I am thinking about as this new year gets underway. Don’t call it a resolution—I’m not resolving to do anything. But I am trying to get a little perspective. If and when the time comes, I want to know that I will be able to let go of the things that might hold me back.