January 17, 2019
by Michael Jeppesen

Its about this time of year, or sometimes as early as Thanksgiving that I load up my DVD player with the extended versions of the J.R.R. Tolkien story Lord of the Rings. In my opinion it is one of the greatest stories ever told and every year I continue to be moved with the drama and storytelling. As I tell my friends and family it HAS to be the extended versions, which run about 4 hours a piece for a total of 12 hours of view time…it is a commitment for sure. Some years I get through them in a few weeks and some years it may take a month or two. This year with all the things going on it took nearly three months!

One of my favorite characters is Gandalf for the sage wisdom and delivery he offers, Here are a few of his life lessons from the series:

  1. Gandalf on staying focused“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, 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.”
  2. Gandalf on pushing through tough timesFRODO: I wish it need not have happened in my time.GANDALF: So do I, 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.
  3. Gandalf about good and evil“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
  4. Gandalf on being late“A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to.”
  5. Gandalf on sympathy“True courage is not knowing when to take a life, but to spare one.”
  6. Gandalf on travel“The world isn’t in your maps and books, it’s out there!”
  7. Gandalf on bracing yourself“Courage will now be your best defense against the storm that is at hand.”
  8. Gandalf on who has the right to judge“Deserves it! I daresay he does, Many that live deserve death, And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it. And he is bound up with the fate of the Ring. My heart tells me that he has some part to play yet, for good or ill, before the end; and when that comes, the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many – yours not least.”
  9. Gandalf on the brighter side of deathPIPPIN: I didn’t think it would end this way.GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?

    GANDALF: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

    PIPPIN: Well, that isn’t so bad.

    GANDALF: No. No, it isn’t.