The Grace of an Elf

//The Grace of an Elf

The doom of the elves is to be immortal, to love the beauty of the world, to bring it to full flower with their gifts of delicacy and perfection, to last while it lasts, never leaving it even when ‘slain’, but returning – and yet, when the Followers come, to teach them, and make their way for them, to ‘fade’ as the Followers grow and absorb the life from which both proceed. The Doom (or the Gift) of Men is mortality, freedom from the circles of the world.

At the dawn of the First Age of Middle Earth, as the stars of Varda blinked into existence and turned a night sky into twilight, the first elves awoke on the shores of Cuivienen. With eyes full of wonder and life they began to create an existence that would last millennia. In those early years they developed languages, songs, and poetry. Their growth was exponential, even more so after being taken into the west by the Valar. Blessed with immortality the years passed as days while they grew in knowledge and power. There was no limit to the pinnacles of glory which they could achieve as all it took was time. Time to learn, time to forge and re-forge until all was created just right. All they knew was blessed with time immeasurable, but that was changing. Across the sea from Valinor, to the east of Beleriand, in the land of Hildorien the race of Men appeared. Young and proud, this race was a mystery that the elves looked upon in wonder. Their lives burned bright and fast, and at first the elves pitied them for their brief time in Arda, yet as the ages passed they came to envy them for the gift of death.

Why would one with immortality wish for death? It seems a perplexing answer when first considered from the perspective of the mortal mind. We are told that the only commodity with limited availability is time. We can always get more money or resources, but time is finite. We cannot obtain more of it so we must rush to accomplish all we want within this limited lifetime we are blessed with. To the Elves the men always appeared impatient and headstrong, but that was only because they were driven by the deadline of death. In contrast the elves always appeared indecisive and aloof, yet this was due to their immortal view of the world. While both races envied the gifts of the other, each was left to live their respective lives.

To be successful in our lives we need to be able to take both the mortal and the elvish perspectives. Our time is limited so we cannot procrastinate yet this present moment is all we have because time is eternal. In the scope of an eternal elf life, yesterday, tomorrow, a century from now doesn’t matter. What is real is right now. The past has taught that no matter what decision is made there will be both good and bad in the future. Spending time in the present being overly anxious about the choice does not change the outcome it only disrupts the present.

‘And it is also said,’ answered Frodo: ‘Go not to the Elves for counsel for they will answer both no and yes.’

The elves have learned over the centuries that there will be joy and sadness in all things, some may be planned for and some may be unexpected. There is no choice that is right or wrong, there are only choices. In their youth they sought outcomes, in their present they have gratitude. Gratitude for the beauty of life and for the world they know even though their own role is fading. Presence allows them to appreciate the moment while not trying to control it. Perhaps the greatest grace of the elves is not in their agility or craftsmanship but in their acceptance of what is. They do not waste energy denying possibilities or wondering what could have been done differently, rather they accept the situation and act accordingly. Paths may vary but the end is the same.

As the years of Middle Earth passed the relationship between elves and men waxed and waned with the moods of kings and Maia until the end of the third age. After the conclusion of the War of the Ring, the fourth age, the Age of Men, was come. Knowing their time had ended the elves withdrew to Valinor. Abandoning all their ancestral homes and relinquishing any claim to kingdoms they sailed into the West one final time. The wisdom of the ages was revealed in their actions. They did not cling to hope of what once was, nor view their actions with loss and regret, this was just the next step in their journey.

Too often in life we spend our time looking back at past mistakes or wondering about all the what ifs and what could have beens that we forget we are still alive in the present. We are all at a point in time not a destination. Our desire to live in a particular moment of time creates an illusion of control that only sets us up for disappointment. We can only effect our present so we should apply our energy where it serves a purpose. The elves lamented the tragedies of the past but knew they could not go back. They took these past tragedies as lessons for the future not as daily struggles to overcome.

Emotions are linked with past moments not this one. By staying present we do not linger in the old chapters but create new, fresh ones to be experienced. Your experiences are unique to you, your motivations are your own. Each person in this life must walk their own path, may you always walk yours with the grace of an elf.



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By | 2016-06-29T18:00:29+00:00 June 8th, 2016|Nerdy Wisdom|1 Comment