I reread J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic The Lord of the Rings recently, a book that can be read to be about elves and magic, but can also be read to be about the brutality of war, and what things are worth fighting for. In the story, ordinary people find themselves caught up in a war between good and evil, a war which threatens to unmake creation and destroy all beautiful things. The ordinary people in the story are not humans but hobbits, a small farming people who live all the way on the western edge of the world and want nothing so much as to be left alone to live their lives in peace. But a few of them have been drafted into the story as heroes, and two of them--not even the two famous ones, the ones with the Ring--these two young villagers find themselves far from home, wounded and trying to heal on the sidelines of a great battle.
They are reflecting on how they’ve come so far, and how unfitted they feel to the task they’ve been given, and what all their struggle means to their small, ordinary lives. One says to the other, “It is best to love first what you are fitted to love, I suppose: you must start somewhere and have some roots, and the soil of [our home] is deep. Still there are things deeper and higher; and not a gaffer could tend his garden in what he calls peace but for them, whether he knows about them or not (179).”