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Michelle Black @Everlastscribe
, 11 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
#tolkien #tolkienbirthday
This is a story in more than one part, but then I think that would suit J.R.R. down to his boots.

(1)I was in Ireland, I was 20 years old, and I was on a missions trip. First time overseas, first time missionary, first time to Ireland
(2) At first, the team dynamics were great, the idea behind it was great, and helping others was great. But fast forward six weeks. Team dynamics were souring, the situation was intolerably soul-squashing, and I was trapped on the other side of the sea from home.
(3) Then my team leader and his new wife went on their belated honeymoon and asked me to take care of their cat. She was my excuse to get away and disappear during free-time. I even fell asleep more than once, listening to the rain on the roof with the fluffer beside me.
(4) There I also prayed, read my Bible, and tried to understand how things that had started out so right went so, so wrong. Without getting into too many details I can just say interpersonally it was a stinking mess. And I wanted home. But couldn't go home. Then one day I saw
(5) On the book shelf in the manse tiny library, a well-worn copy of #JRRTolkien's Fellowship of the Ring. A paperback copy, a Mass Market paperback copy. Huh, I thought, I always meant to read The Lord of The Rings, but got so mixed up over Sauron and Saruman I never finished
(6) So miserable, away from home, and desperate to escape somehow, I cracked open the cover of the tiny, beat up copy of The Fellowship of the Ring, and the slightly blurry inked letters acted like an underground tunnel that pulled me all the way to Middle Earth
(7) It was past midnight that first day when I came back to myself and realised that the cat was purring and knocking her head into me cos, she was hungry. No one had missed me. No one had gone looking for me, I found out later. It didn't matter that I had been in Middle Earth
(8) I read The Fellowship of the Ring like a person in a parched desert drinks water. I panted after that story, it fed and sustained my soul. Sam, Frodo, the ring & relentless danger, the mission that had to be completed far away from home, it rang in my bones. I recognised it
(9) I drew strength from the truths, that there is good in the world, and it's worth fighting for. That my cause like theirs was worth sacrificing for. My team leader came home, and I told him and his wife how I had been feeling.
(10) Things, did not get better over night. But when I explained how Tolkien's work had saved my ragged soul, he insisted that I come over and finish reading the trilogy in between doing field work. He and his wife became my good friends
(11) And while I carry scars from my time there, I wouldn't trade it for worlds because of what Christ did in my life, and also because I forged a bond with #JRRTolkiens work that is with me, linked to my bones, to this day.
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