“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien, “Three Is Company,” The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 1954
I think I have read Lord of the Rings about a dozen times at this point. I judge, in my humble opinion, Peter Jackson’s cinematic Lord of the Rings to be one of the finest films ever. Sitting through about 10 or 11 hours of the extended version of the trilogy is to lose track of time.
There are so many memorable quotes and situations in the book, yet, this quote caught my eye. Seems so innocuous, this observation about “going out of your door.” It has real meaning though, to those who wish to give it meaning.
We all have a choice, do we not? Stay inside, comforted by the familiar surroundings, or venture out into the “unknown.” Not an easy decision to make. Worst of all, there is no knowing what detours and rest stops lie along the way. It is a road.
But life is a road. Success has always been a journey. It can be nothing else. Staying inside, in the warmth of familiarity insulates us from the world, from risk, from success.
But there is also failure on the road, but that’s okay. Failure is a detour, a caution sign – what you, or I, tried was wrong – try differently. Success is the journey, and failure is just a sign telling us not to use this detour.
George Bernard Shaw made a statement about being all used up at life’s end. That’s about right. There’s nothing to take into the grave, might as well use up all that life has given us. Yup, dangerous business, going out the door. But a good decision, nonetheless.