The mood in my neck of the woods--and elsewhere, I imagine--is decidedly grim these days. Layoffs, falling home values and bank failures abound. Anxiety is mounting and people--many that I know, anyway--are, quite frankly, frightened.
In the midst of such chaotic uncertainty, I am reminded of one of my favorite treasures of literature, one I discovered and fell deeply in love with as a child: Tolkien's books on Middle Earth, The Lord of the Rings. I still remember my father's hardbound volumes, complete with maps of this imagined landscape. They were already well-used when gifted to me, slightly warped and brittle, from long forgotten water damage.
Out of these beloved volumes, a specific exchange between Frodo and Gandalf comes to mind:
Frodo, despairing over the fate of their bedraggled and disheartened band, says to Gandalf "I wish none of this had ever happened."
To which, Gandalf sagely and truthfully replies, "So do I...and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
We find ourselves in a similar state of despair--or at least disbelief--frightened of what is to come, wishing we would awake, heart racing, from the nightmare we feel is descending upon our waking lives. But like those mythical stand-ins for our 20th Century forefathers, we too must move forward, consciously and with purpose, extending hands and hearts to help our families and those around us navigate this crisis.
Together, we will endure. Of this, I am certain.