Bilbo’s Journey Begins
I long questioned why Bilbo stepped out his door, albeit reluctantly, only to return and live out most of his days in the very place he left.
It’s been maybe 10 years since I’ve read the book but I don’t remember the Bilbo being the hub of his family or village before he left. He came home wealthy, and still pretty much rejected by his family and peers–only now he was envied instead of overlooked.
I now understand why he returned. He came home because he was changed. Because of his journey, he continued to let societal rejection roll off him and lived a life of long walks and wonder. Because he saw a world beyond the comforts of the Shire–filled with powerful people motivated by the forces of self-serving hate and self-sacrificing love– he was not caught up in the numbing trappings that so easily entangled others . And when he ended up taking in a young orphaned boy, he passed on his appreciation and awe of the forces of evil and good.
That boy became the man who answered the call to strike out on an even more difficult journey.
We leave because we yearn to experience something different.
We return because we are changed.
We continue in our lives because we hope that the change in us can change the world.
We have to take that first step out the door, be willing to leave behind what we know so that we, too, can one day return.
It’s not where the journey takes us, but how we let the journey change us.