Where to begin? If I had to guess, I would imagine that my thoughts are like your thoughts. Disbelief. Shock. Horror. Disgust. Add to that the fact that I’m not entirely certain how I’m supposed to feel (is there a supposed to feel in this moment? I’m not sure).

As if often the case with me, I find myself ruminating on Tolkien. Two quotes come to mind:

“This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.”

“This is the hour of the Shire-folk, when they arise from their quiet fields to shake the towers and counsels of the Great.”

I’m reminded that it is my job as much as anyone else’s to combat racism. I’m reminded that every small action matters. But I’m also reminded that each person’s place in the fight will be different.

For Frodo, his task was to carry the Ring. He had to bear the weight of Sauron’s evil and, essentially, sacrifice himself and his life for its destruction.

For Sam, his task was to aid Frodo. He had to walk alongside him, unable to take the weight off of Frodo, but lending him his own strength to aid in its carrying. Also, it was his task to maintain hope as Frodo’s own faded.

For Merry and Pippin together, their task was to rouse the Ents to action, mostly by their presence. It would seem an evil, unlikely chance that they were in Fangorn to begin with. Yet, they aided in the destruction of Saruman in Orthanc.

For Merry, his task was to defy Theoden’s orders and ride to battle alongside Eowyn. He would end up aiding in the final destruction of the Witchking, but that was an unknown to him. He thought he rode to his death, unseen among the Rohirrim.

For Pippin, his task was to rescue Faramir from the hands of his father, Denethor, to whom he had formerly pledged his fealty. His task was to save the Steward of Gondor just in time to make way for the King of Gondor who would take his place.

Each of the Hobbits, in their own ways, fought evil. They returned to the Shire changed and ready to continue their fight in their own homeland – again, each in their own ways.

My path may look different from yours. Yet, as long as we travel to the same destination, there is hope that evil will be defeated and we, and the world, will be changed.