The above is a quote from “The King of the Golden Hall” in The Two Towers. This exchange between Gandalf and Grima has always been one of my favourite things to quote. It’s so very apt for so many situations.
Not all that long ago, I got involved with some folks planning a very good thing. But with a very bad planner at the helm. Upon sending a missive that questioned said helmsman’s decisions, I was flabbergasted to receive a hysterical and paranoid, highly insulting reply which ended with this quote:
I have not passed through fire and death to bandy crooked words with a serving-man till the lightning falls.
“Well!” thought I. A fancy way to imply that I’m some sort of idiot. But I’d heard worse, much, much worse from people far, far better than this chap. And for this … person to imply that they had somehow come through fire and death was a bit grandiose. However, in the grand scheme of things, no matter how Tolkien’s writing is used, the thing I’ll never escape is his lesson on mercy and fate.
And loving the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Paramahansa Yogananda and other sages as I do, I cannot escape the lessons of compassion and empathy. I keep the words of Gandhiji and Mandela close to my heart to rein in my somewhat violent nature. (I admit, I’m still working on my thoughts and speech, people. Be patient.) Thus, I did not respond to the insult with an immediately-gratifying-but-later-regretted violent Zidane headbutt.
I sat on the insult and tried to let it wash over me and eventually I came to see it as laughable. What is not at all laughable is that said helmsman continues to suck good people into the viscous slime that is the ‘organization’ (a term used quite loosely here since at last count, the org held but one person) like a bloated toad with an extremely slimy tongue who can never get its fill of fools.
It is to the poor folk floundering like moths trapped in a jar that I dedicate the quote above. Please read the chapter and wake up! The whole point of that chapter is that Gandalf rids Theoden of the deceit that was too easily believed, the lies that crept too easily into his ears and the burden that snaked its oily tentacles around his heart. We are free, people! Free to choose. Free to believe. Free to question. Do all of these. Freely and strongly. Stand and feel your spine straighten as you take on only your burden. Look out at your green land of promise with clean eyes. Let the Light of the White Wizard into your heart and mind. You are free, dearest people. Whisper it. Shout it. Sing it. But most of all live it.
And to those who are curious, this is the quote I did not send back:
The wise speak only of what they know … A witless worm have you become. Therefore be silent, and keep your forked tongue behind your teeth.
Anything too wonderful to be true is just that, not true. Stand up for yourself and put everything in its proper place. Be valiant and strong and choose your own way. But don’t headbutt anyone. And don’t drink the Kool-aid.