“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”
J.R.R. Tolkien couldn’t have started his tale of the hobbits any other way. When you first read about the hobbits, there’s a surprising freshness that comes over you. At least it did for me.
After 3 years of pestering my wife, begging her to watch The Lord of the Rings movies with me again, she finally gave in only recently!
The tale begins back in the days of college where we first met. I encouraged her to watch all 3 movies of the Trilogy – Extended versions too – with me before we even started dating. Back then I hoped she would like the movies that I so much loved. She had to have this in common with me or our relationship wouldn’t work. She would have difficulty understanding why I was quoting all these lines from LOTR if we ended up together.
Turns out she didn’t like them so much. She thought it was all just a bunch of war, fighting, banging heads… and I grieved this misconception of hers. Yet we still ended up married; evident that our love was stronger.
I kept telling her, “But no, this tale is about so much more. Beauty, adventure, communal feasting, dangerous forests, underground caverns, all things that grow, music, romance, and hobbits – especially hobbits!”
Now that New Zealand has come around the corner, the sense of Middle Earth once again began to brew in our hearts.
How we compare to them
For those who have unfortunately never heard of them: Hobbits, or Halflings, are a fictional, small race who inhabit the land of Middle Earth: the setting where the books The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings take place. They are between two and four feet tall, the average height being three feet six inches. They dress in bright colors, favouring yellow and green.
Here are some great attributes of Hobbits that we can relate to or learn from:
They are usually very shy creatures, preferring to be left alone from the outside which in turn cause them to be unadventurous. However, they are capable of great courage and amazing feats whenever the need arises. Very often we can be like them: sheltered, joining gatherings only within the community, never stepping outside the area we live, staying comfortable in our jobs, never taking risks. Yet we’re capable of so much more than we believe. We’re like ants with 10x more strength than we think. Creativity is in our nature, we must always seek new ways of doing things, otherwise we fall to the rut of predictability which becomes what we call tradition.
They are very fond of farming, eating, and socializing. They love to have visitors over to their homes, they like to party and have feasts or potlucks! Potlucks are simply one of our favorite things to do, and it’s a great excuse to get together with great people. Farming also brings people together in the beautiful green fields to work & grow these foods. We also cannot live without friends since happiness is at its best when shared. I think these 3 attributes are what we all share & love deep in our hearts.
They are adept with slings and throwing stones. They have an uncanny & clever use of whatever is around them. Who needs guns or swords? David beat Goliath with a sling after refusing to put on heavy armor and weapons provided by the army. Why not use the environment around us and use what God has already given us? We don’t need bigger and better, we need smaller and more efficient. God in His amazing wisdom, chose to use the weak to confound the strong. After all, a rock in the head may be just what is needed to knock the senses back into the heads of the proud.
Their feet are covered with thick hair with leathery soles, so most Hobbits hardly ever wear shoes. Bare-footing is fast becoming popular again these days. There’s something about absorbing & feeling the cool earth through your feet. Over time our shoes have shaped our feet into something they’re not and have made them weak. Therefore we’ve found & wear Vibram FiveFingers and love them. Makes us even closer in likeness to the hobbits.
Hobbits can sometimes live for up to 130 years, although their average life expectancy is 100 years. Our genes were built to last 120 years. If we all led healthy lifestyles we would meet the hobbits’ average life expectancy.
They have a love for all things that grow, and good, tilled earth. Since we are made in God’s image we are called to cultivate new life and love creation. “We can see this in the role given Adam, to ‘till the garden’ with the word ‘till’ here, abad, being the same Hebrew word used for ‘serve.’ Tilling, when done well, is serving the land; opening up the ground for new life.” ~Ragan Sutterfield
They don’t see any bad thing in celebrating a simple life. Of course our lives do not have to be overly complicated and fast-paced: living by man-made time, running to our jobs first thing every morning, popping pills to cover symptoms of diseases, or waking up to annoying alarms. Rather can’t we just wake up to the sun, work in the dirt until the sun goes down, eat foods straight from our land, and read by a lantern at night until we nod off to sleep? Let us slow down.
They have been used as spies/thieves since they can be very quiet, quick of foot, and nimble. I do make every attempt to move and think like a ninja, therefore this is another reason hobbits have a special place in my heart.
They like to eat. Breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper… Our daily meal plan is somewhere close to this whenever we can pull it off.
They have a particular passion for mushrooms. A mushroom is a fungus that is full of nutrients that can boost the immune system and combat many diseases and conditions. I personally never liked mushrooms growing up, but now I don’t mind them after realizing how so good they are for us. Indeed I have a much better understanding of why hobbits so loved mushrooms.
They have an amazing resilience to evil. Of all these races of Middle Earth, one of these remarkable little creatures, Frodo Baggins, took upon the most treacherous task, carrying the One Ring of Power to its destruction in the very fires of Mount Doom – the one & only place it could be destroyed. Through this we all learn that “even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” The Light within even the littlest ones of us is far greater than all the powers of darkness combined.
They like to give instead of receive. They use the term mathom for old and useless objects, which are invariably given as presents many times over. Also we all know, “It is better to give than to receive.” Plus hand-me-downs, recycling, thrift-shopping, and re-gifting are the best things we can do instead of building that pile of junk.
Lastly, and this cannot be left out… they live in “hobbit-holes” or traditional underground homes found in hillsides, downs, and banks. Building our own “hobbit-hole” in a hillside on a land we will farm as a community is our dream. Again, we see here that hobbits are clever green builders. They build with nature. They know, understand, and appreciate it as we all should. A house built under a hill is much cheaper to build and keeps the electricity bill extremely low. It is also mysterious, captivating, spurs imagination, and makes us children again.
Comfort vs. Adventure
Hobbits would much rather stay at their home in the Shire, not caring much for adventure. Yet the desire for adventure is in all of us. Sometimes we just need a little nudge out the door.
“It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
Without that nudge by the wizard, Gandalf the Grey, without that burning desire within him, Bilbo would’ve never found the Ring and brought it back to the Shire. In which turn Frodo Baggins would’ve never received it. He never would’ve found what the intention of this evil ring was. Of all unlikely creatures imaginable, the ring that was bent on destroying mankind landed in this little hobbit’s hands. And after much toil with the quest coming near to failing, Frodo along with his comrade, Samwise Gamgee, cast the Ring of Power into the fires of Mount Doom. After destroying it once for all, peace was again restored to Middle Earth.
Perhaps this little nudge out the door you’re getting by your very own Gandalf the Grey onto an adventure of your very own in your very own Middle Earth will ultimately bring you to discover your destiny. Partners in the Redemption and Restoration business. Fearless World Changers. Artists who express love to both God and people. Musicians who play to soothe troubled spirits. Or simply hobbits with a home in a hillside.