“You have the wrong hobbit.”
No. I don’t think Gandalf does have the wrong hobbit.
When I first started motherhood, I thought I was still myself for a long time. Years. Even though I was changing, and growing, and learning about depths of myself I had no idea even existed…I believed I was still the same person.
Perhaps I am, really.
However, somehow I think I am someone I like more, now.
After the Dwarves had invaded Bilbo’s dining room, and pantry, in the beginning of “The Hobbit,” Bilbo was informed that he was the chosen Burglar for the company’s quest.
Oftentimes, when we are first introduced to a mighty task we are going to take, the first response, even, if not especially, from the the bravest of us, is to deny the task.
To be quite frank, from one introvert to another, I savored in the response to Gandalf, upon first learning of his task, from Bilbo: “I’ll be alright. Let me just…sit here quietly for a moment.”
Unfortunately, Gandalf was having none of that.
“You have been sitting quietly for far too long.”
I think I find myself in similar armchairs as Bilbo, over-thinking myself to the point of running out of both tea and good thoughts.
The thing is, Gandalf was a good friend and he knew the heart of Bilbo…and he knew the right time when Bilbo needed a kick in the pants to get him up.
“Tell me,” Gandalf begins.
“When did doilies and your mother’s dishes become so important to you? I remember a young hobbit who was always running off in search of elves in the woods, and stay up late. Come home after dark covered in twigs and fireflies.
“I knew a young hobbit who would like nothing better than to find out what was beyond the borders of the Shire.”
I have always identified with this perspective, because I have always wondered what is beyond the horizon.
What lies beyond the city limits? What people can I find outside of where I am? What does the world look like over the hills?
The thing is, I must admit to myself that I have a thick domestic streak that keeps me thriving at home. I can stay in my house for a while, just fine.
Sometimes, home can be found beyond the city limits.
Gandalf, and good friends, understand this wild yeast in our spirits:
“The world is not in your books and maps,” Gandalf says. “It’s out there” as he pointed to a blue stained window.
Even when we are stubborn, and say things like,
“I can’t go running off into the blue,” Bilbo argued. “I am a Baggins. Of Bagend.” Period.
Gandalf puts the nail in the coffin: “You are also a Took. Did you know that your great-great-great-great-great-grandfather was so large, he could ride a real horse?” Gandalf goes on to tell other stories of Bilbo’s Grandfather, only to conclude, “You will have a tale or two of your own when you come back.”
Bilbo asks, vulnerably, after honest consideration: “Can you promise I will come back?”
The response is honest, as well. And exactly what Bilbo needed to hear: “No. And if you do, you will not be the same.”
“I’m sorry. I can’t sign this,” Bilbo says, getting up from his armchair. “You’ve got the wrong hobbit.”
If you know yourself, you know the adventure in your heart.
The truth is, I know the adventure in my heart. And I know I tend to sit in my armchair and think, and think, and think again about what it means.
But the truth I realize, after a good night’s sleep, is that I am always ready for a good adventure.
That is what motherhood is.
It is an amazing adventure.
And you will not be the same woman, sitting in an armchair, when you return.