Yesterday on the Turkish airplane flight to Egypt, I watched The Hobbit again (well the earphones did help drown out the engine noise, screaming children and snoring from Mr Obese next to me!). Not everyone’s cup of tea, the story is all about a small hobbit, Mr Bilbo Baggins, who finds himself on an unexpected and rather hazardous adventure with unlikely companions – a bunch of displaced dwarves all trying to regain their home whilst fighting against a variety of vicious and deadly foes….including to top it all, a fire breathing dragon.
On meeting with Galadriel, the Top Elf in the area, the wizard Gandalf is asked why such an insignificant being as a hobbit has been brought along to face such evil. He replies that a fellow wizard Saruman believes ‘it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? I don’t know.’
Later in the story, Bilbo speaks to the displaced dwarves about why he thinks he is on the journey: ‘I often think of Bag End. I miss my books, and my arm chair, and my garden. See, that’s where I belong; that’s home, and that’s why I came cause you don’t have one.. a home. It was taken from you, but I will help you take it back if I can.’
As I arrived in Egypt I have asked several people about the on-going situation…now into its third year of volatility, which has seen a bloody on-the-streets revolution and the overthrow of a dictator President, army rule for a year before dubious elections, when a skewed vote saw a minority party gain power via a new oppressive President, who led the country to become totally divided within another year, which led to another street revolution, and the reinstatement of army rule, curfews and civil restrictions, ironically to the great relief of the majority of the people. ‘Wearied’, ‘Restricted’, ‘Alone’ – all words used by friends in conversations today. The situation is tense, people are having to take great care to protect themselves, they want their home back as a place to live and raise their families in the future. What am I here? Well, I guess to offer some small things where I can, on a journey I don’t fully understand, and to offer an extra light into the darkness.
From our own insignificance within our needy world, may we each offer our small acts of kindness and love, to hold back any darkness and evil, and to liberate, heal and restore those needing and aching for true home.
Last word to Gandalf then: ‘The world is not in your maps and books. It’s out there’. Let’s adventure.