Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Life is Like a Box of Dirt

Each of the fellowship receive a valuable gift as they leave the woods of Lothlorien.  Sam and Pippin get fancy belts, Aragorn the elfstone and a cool scabbard (which will never break--trying to one-up Arthur's scabbard!), Legolas a new bow, Gimli gets Galadriel's hair, Boromir gets a golden belt made out of chiseled leaves, Frodo gets the light of Earendil for crying out loud and Sam gets...

...a box of dirt (gee, thanks Galadriel)

"Mama always said: life is like a box of chocolates dirt."
But, it turns out that this box of dirt is one of the most valuable gifts given on that day and represents so much that Sam and the others went through and accomplished.

You see, Sam carries that box along for the entire journey.  He never gives it up.  Eventually he brings it all the way home where he finds that Saruman has uprooted all of the Shire trees.  Sam uses the seed and dirt given to him to replace the Party Tree which was the most beautiful and most missed tree of the Shire.  It grows into a mallorn tree which goes a long way to heal the Shire.
The Party Tree.  Photo from
That box of dirt that was so unassuming when Samwise got it.  Sometimes in life we get handed a situation which looks just as unattractive as the dirt in that box.  But when we stick with it, and plant the seed we are given it will eventually grow into something beautiful--if we let it.

When Sam brought that special grace he had been given by Galadriel home and planted it, he brought something otherworldly (the mallorn, which only grew in Lothlorien) into his own life.  We can do the same thing if we are patient.

Sam's box of dirt also reminds us that things don't have to be flashy and impressive to be important.  Certainly they can be--the light of Earendil comes to mind--but it's important not to overlook simple things.

St. Augustine of Hippo said that everyone has a mission, missionis, meaning "to send" implanted in us like an acorn.  If we nourish that little acorn, it can grow into a marvelous tree.  I think Tolkien was getting at the same point here.

If you have never seen Tom Shippey's lecture on trees in Tolkien, you absolutely must put everything down and watch it right now.

Done?  Okay good.  Remember how Professor Shippey said that Haldir and the other Lothlorien elves were reluctant to leave Lothlorien because they would miss their trees?  Well here is Galadriel finally getting over that by giving one away.  Now one is safely in the Shire and Lothlorien can pass away knowing that the trees will continue to grow--even if the elves cannot see them there again.

From time immemorial seeds have been symbols of hope and life.   The planting of this seed, a reminder of the outside world, right in the heart of the Shire marks the start of a new era for the hobbits--one of looking outside themselves and appreciation.

So even though you might think you got stuck with a clump of dirt, keep doing your best with it--cultivate it--and it just may grow into the most beautiful tree you have ever seen.

Update on The Hobbit Debate:  I am very excited for the debate over the infamous Hobbit movies with my friend.  I just picked up the DVD from the library moments (literally, I'm still at the library as I type this*) ago.  I am hoping to watch the movie this weekend and have the debate up early next week.

*And feeling judged because I am playing my "air-violin" along with the Zelda soundtrack I'm listening to on headphones--I can't not play while I listen to this!


  1. I will definitely keep that in mind. That is a really good analogy!

    Ooh yay! Another debate! I'm excited! XD

    *gasp* Legend of Zelda is so cool! Have you ever played it? It's the best. And Lindsey Stirling's cover is AWESOME! XD

    I would not judge you playing an air violin because I play air piano ALL. THE. TIME. Keep playing!

    1. Many thanks :)

      I ADORE Legend of Zelda! I've played Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask (on the Nintendo 64), Wind Waker (GameCube) and Twilight Princess (GameCube and Wii). This entire sentence makes me sound like a complete nerd XD What's your favorite one?

      Lindsey Sterling is all around amazing :D

      THANK YOU! We should form an air-band, haha.

    2. I only have The Phantom Hourglass on my DS and I forgot what the name of the Wii game... But I've heard of all those before. Nah, okay maybe a little XD

      True DAT.

      Haha, yeah we should! Anyone know how to play air guitar? XD

    3. Ooh, I've never played that one--sounds cool!

      It's okay--I'm proud of my nerdiness.

      Lol XD