“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “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.”
My absolute, absolute favorite quote from The Fellowship of the Ring. (I include it in the beginning of chapter 9 in The Joyful Vegan.)
It’s timeless, and it’s timely.
Of course, we should be considering this every day — not just in a time of crisis like we’re experiencing now. But while our lives are disrupted and we’re physically (and painfully) distancing from one another, it sure seems like a good time to ratchet that up.
J.R.R. Tolkein wrote Lord of the Rings several years after returning from the First World War — during which time he witnessed death and suffering beyond what most of us can even imagine, including the slaughter of his dearest friends, and survived trench fever and many illnesses that he contracted from his time in the cold, wet, lice-infested trenches.
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
I’m not saying we have to pressure ourselves to write the next great novel or find a cure for the coronavirus pandemic, but creating some parameters around this time may be helpful, useful, and meaningful.
In other words, what can we do now so that when we look back 6 or 12 months from now, we can say, “I’m glad I did that” or “I’m proud of how I used that time”?
It might be
reading Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, because…Gandalf!
reading any book you’ve been meaning to read
watching a documentary series
decluttering your house
planting a garden
learning to bake bread
or … writing the next great novel
What you choose to do is up to you, and that’s the point. What do you want to do now so you can look back months from now and be happy or proud or satisfied with what you decided?
Time is going to pass anyway. How do you want to spend it?