The Desolation of Life

23 December 2013 Comments Off on The Desolation of Life

to realize how often I come back to this point. Am I not strong enough to get through these moments of weakness and vulnerability? Shouldn’t life get easier as the days I’ve survived through accumulate in a corner? This seemingly rhetorical question slaps me in the face. If I go on with my life only to survive one more day, pass one more exam, get one more thing done, how will it ever be easier? I realize that putting myself in the shoes of an unwilling victim of life will never ever help me to be alive, feel alive. That little epiphany doesn’t sweep away the problem, though. How in the world am I going to feel alive?

Then I remember the book I’ve been reading and its description of what makes a story good and meaningful: “A character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.” It sounds simple and reasonable enough. Now, another question pops up: what do I want in my life? Instantly my mind starts to wander around the different paths and possibilities — career choices to make, steps to take, jobs and schools to apply for/to — and I feel choked again. No! That can’t be what the author is talking about here. What do I really want in my life? If there were only one choice to make, what would that be? Suddenly I understand but refuse to acknowledge it for a while. It is simple, too simple: I want to live — happily. The problem is, though, it’s not merely a state of being; it’s a daily choice, a fight to be fought every single day. It’s a battle I can’t win if I simply accumulate days by surviving instead of living in them and looking for the opportunities of happiness and exploration. Another sentence from the book catches my eye: “I’ve wondered, though, if one of the reasons we fail to acknowledge the brilliance of life is because we don’t want the responsibility inherent in the acknowledgement.” I’m ready to take responsibility and acknowledge the brilliance of life, even when it doesn’t feel that brilliant. I decide to enjoy my role in the story of mankind — and I thank God for being a part of this story. The epiphany takes a step forward, toward completion.

Finally, I think of Bilbo Baggins, how he longs to be back at Shire yet has the courage to continue and face, one by one, the conflicts he could have easily avoided. I often consider myself to be a hobbit-like person, and just like Bilbo, I long to be back “home,” but there is a journey to take beforehand. I find courage when I think of my literary hero, Tolkien — the man who inspired me to start creating my own fictional world, the writer whose very soul taught me how to saturate my writings with my own soul. I read what he said to his son, Christopher, who was having a hard time in an army camp. Tolkien, too, refers to life as a story, and though they were not spoken for me, his words tug at my heartstrings: “Well, there you are: a hobbit amongst the Urukhai. Keep up your hobbitry in heart, and think that all stories feel like that when you are in them. You are inside a very great story!”

P.S.: My initial plan for this week was to write about the second part of “The Hobbit” — “The Desolation of Smaug.” I even had my title ready: “The Desolation of Peter Jackson.” As you may guess from my intended title, I did NOT like the movie. The first “Hobbit” movie was not one of my favorites either, but at least the additions to the storyline were not completely alien to the the universe Tolkien created. I was one of those people who gave Peter Jackson the benefit of the doubt after the “Lord of the Rings” movies and the first “Hobbit” movie, assuming that he respected Tolkien despite the changes he chose to make. However, Peter Jackson seems to have bowed down to fame and the Hollywood mentality after all. All I could think after seeing this movie was that Tolkien would be terribly sad to see his story ruined for the sake of box office gross. Jackson’s attempts to outsmart Tolkien simply enraged me; no longer will he be regarded with respect by Tolkien fans. He is a butcher, and I only want him to stay away from the Tolkien books he hasn’t touched yet.