December 27, 2012

“You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.”  

Ralph Waldo Emerson 
Galadriel:  Why the Hafling?
Gandalf:  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?  That's because I'm afraid and it gives me courage.

As promised, today I am giving you a review on yesterday's movie event, The Hobbit.  With the same cast and director as Lord of the Rings, it has that epic, sweeping beauty as the first three movies, and the endearing characters that make you fall in love with cinema all over again.  My whole family loved it.  I particularly loved the scene depicted above, in which Galadriel, a royal elf and co-ruler of Lothlorien, and Gandalf, the Grey Wizard, discuss his choice of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, as the burglar in the dwarf party that has set out to reclaim the Lost Mountain from Smaug, the mighty dragon.  In speaking about holding evil in check, Gandalf claims that he has found it is the everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay.  

And goodness knows, after all the personal and community tragedies of this past month, this is a statement I need to believe.  I need to believe that small acts of kindness and love will make the world a better place, and that even if I am only one person, I can make a difference through how I choose to greet the world.  I would like to retreat from the world for awhile, and slip into my bedroom and draw the covers up over my head.  It seems like every day there is more bad news, more sorrow, more terrible and unspeakable acts towards others, but the answer lies not in retreat but in boldly stepping out in faith and believing that good will triumph.

William Wordsworth must have felt much the same, when he penned 'that best portion of a good man's life; his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love' in this excerpt from Tintern Abbey.

Lines Written A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye During a Tour
William Wordsworth
(second stanza)

 These beauteous forms, 
Through a long absence, have not been to me

As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,

Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind,
With tranquil restoration: – feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened: – that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on, – 
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.

You may listen to the full poem at

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