Column – Tolkien’s words inspire thoughts from the Bible

Published 3:10 pm Friday, June 9, 2023

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J R.R. Tolkien, author of “The Lord of the Rings,” “The Hobbit” and other books first caught my attention when I happened to see a picture of him in the room where he was still writing, shortly before his death. 

There was so much clutter only his picture and his typewriter were clearly seen.  This, from the pen of a writer whose imagination was incredible-incomparable, and almost incomprehensible as he wrote his fascinating fiction stories, I looked around my own computer room of wasted papers. 

Reading and writing, once supremely important, are today being shortened by texting. All who text know how the message can be confusing. Writers need clear thinking so the reader gets the clear message. Tolkien’s was clear and delightful.

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He was working on his next book, Silmarillion, when he passed away. One quote from that time interests me: “Healing comes only by suffering and patience, and makes no demand, not even for justice.”  

What did he mean by that? I thought It seemed to have a biblical message for many of my ideas.

In that same old group of papers, I found one of my own which still has relevance, “Who or What is a Woman?”  I began it with: “Call me anything you want to, just remember I am a woman, a unique creation of God, with a place only a woman can fulfill.” The Bible has much to tell us about this human creation which is sometimes misunderstood today.

God had first created a man, Adam. Creating him sounded simple, easy; it took only a handful of dust (Genesis 2:7). He gave to Adam some of His own qualities, and major responsibilities. Adam knew about the animals, but the woman God planned for him had to be different. 

For this companion, the Creator took time to design the woman. Her body shape and almost everything about her is different from a man’s. 

Imagination helps us when we read the story in Genesis. She had to be beautiful to appeal to the man. The upper part of her body was made to expand when she needed to nurse the child God planned for her. Her hip shape was different. A very tiny part below and inside her waist can expand and become a “baby holder.”  Her ears will be alert to hear the baby’s cry, even in the night, her arms made strong to hold her baby while stirring the dinner, her smaller feet able to run quickly when there is a “baby’s emergency.” 

When the birthing time of suffering is over, the wonders and joys of holding the newborn and the privilege of motherhood will follow. There will be healing before she goes through the experience again. Waiting for the birth adds a degree of patience. Holding the newborn brings acceptance and great joy.

The life of the man will be different. It may not seem like justice when men do not have to experience those pains and suffering, but males will have the major responsibility to see that family needs are met.

So what else in the Bible alerts us to  “Who or What is a woman?” The Bible concordance has about 567 references to women, of which at least 167 are named. They occupied positions as wife, mother, daughter, daughter in law, grandmother, sister, other relative, song leader, prophetess, harlot, judge, temple worker, witch, queen, homemaker, deaconess and future world leader (in Revelation.) 

I may not be able to interpret Tolkien’s meaning, but reading the quote helped expand my thinking about God’s creative powers. A woman is indeed a unique creation of God, not a man like Adam.

We delight in showing off what has changed almost everything in our lives and homes, the birth of a baby.  We mothers have been given the responsibility of raising daughters and sons who will be strong and loving and work hard to care for  their families.   

Tolkien’s words may remain an unfinished part of his writing but somehow they have remained embedded in my thoughts. That’s what reading and writing does to us. His words make us think, something we all need to do as we face this “new world” of today’s changes.


Myrtle V. Thompson, age 95, is a Suffolk writer and author with books on Amazon.