The Thought for the Day – J.R.R. Tolkien

…the burned hand teaches best. After that advice about fire goes to the heart. – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Regular readers of this crap know The Lord of the Rings regularly produces content for this feature. We are not particularly big fans of the genre, but boy, Tolkien did his work supremely well, producing a book that is as entertaining as it is profound, for our money as brilliantly written a book as our language has mustered. Tolkien is such a regular contributor to this feature, we are running out of the tidbits about the contributor that we usually feature in the opening paragraph.

The very best way to learn something is by experiencing it first hand. The examples we are most familiar with are sports officiating and writing. A new sports official can only go to so many clinics before it’s time to go out and call a game. He can only do so many lower level games before the time comes to bump his career up a notch. Similarly, a writer can only take so many lessons. You can only write so many outlines and attend so many workshops before the time comes to sit down and start baring your soul. 

So it is with any aspect of human endeavor. There comes a time when we must put what we’ve learned to the test, when the time has come to sharpen our skills against the metal of experience and long perseverance.  

…the burned hand teaches best.

We can only read so much. There are only so many classes we can take and so many exams we can pass. We can meditate and explore sacred texts only so much. A pyramid does not have an unlimited foundation. Eventually it starts rising towards its apex.

So do we. There comes a time when me must subject what we’ve learned – both what we’ve been taught and what we’ve discovered about ourselves – to examination. We must go out and burn our hands and learn the lessons experience has to teach. 

A flower will bloom in due course. So will we, but we must get off he sidelines. There comes a time when we must shed our warm-up jacket and embark on the path we were meant to take.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.


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