The world is vast and wide, spreading opportunities before you like a great valley. Looking out, there is a path leading to a shining golden city. The road pushes through trees and swamps, looking at times impassible.

Stepping out, you begin your journey. It starts easy, as most adventures do. The path is clear and wide. It flows mostly downhill and a song bubbles up from your heart.

However, soon, like any life travels, the road begins to narrow. Roots poke up through the once smoothly paved road and snag your toe, tripping you. Scraps and bruises form on knees, elbows and hands.

Travelling forth more, the rutted walkway becomes nothing more than a slim, dirt path. Unsure, you stop and look around. Off the path you see old, dirty grass huts. It seems so much easier to just walk over and slump down. Sure, it smells, there are flies everywhere and the fun barely peeks through. Perhaps you’d be cold in the dark, but it’s not as hard as pushing through to the end.

Then you remember the great oasis that this path leads. You recall the shimmering spires. The song once more fills your lungs.

Renewed hope fills your downtrodden heart and you begin your walk with a renewed vigor.


Over the course of life, you feel like this. A path is laid before you, and you start. It’s easy, simple and you’re excited to see your destination. Whether it’s a project, business, job, or just life in general. You have a goal in mind.

Along the way, problems arise. There are stumbling blocks to grab at feet and wolves ready to nip at heels.

The quote from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” speaks true to life. If memory serves, Frodo and Samwise are speaking.

“But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on – and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end.”

Our travel isn’t easy. While we walk the path it feels like it will not be a success, or that we can’t go on. However, like anything, if we wait till completion and look back, the story we wrote from traversing a hard road can make the shining city, our goal, that much brighter.

Let’s not stop at a destitute grass hut in the middle of a fetid swamp.

“But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have just landed in them, usually – their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on – and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end.” – J.R.R. Tolkien