“Adventures? Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things!” said Bilbo to Gandalf. If he only knew. The scenes that follow — the arrival of the dwarves who take over his home — did not seem to be a favorite in the films, but was an essential part of the book. In it we see much of ourselves.
Bilbo was set in his ways, in his little world. Didn’t want to be bothered, nor wanted any deviations from the norm. So imagine the disruption of this rowdy band taking up residence, uninvited. Think about about how people handle disruptions in their life. Poorly. Even good, life-changing ones. We don’t see what goes on around us. Neighbors in need. Corrupt governments. If the snack bag is full, and the batteries are good in the remote, we’re a-okay. Devin Brown writes in Hobbit Lessons, “We might also think of someone who can’t bear to be away from their laptop for more than a few minutes. Or someone for whom being out of cell phone range counts as a real hardship.” Sad.
We see Bilbo’s change in his dwarf encounter. Brown writes that the hobbit senses “he is missing something” and decides to go on a “quest to live more fully” and ultimately becomes a critical part in the history of his world.
Are you going to challenge your status quo? How are you going to handle the next disruption?
Perhaps we all need a quest. An adventure.