Tolkien to his son Christopher (extract)

10 April 1944

I sometimes feel appalled at the thought of the sum total of human misery all over the world at the present moment: the millions parted, fretting, wasting in unprofitable days - quite apart from torture, pain, death, bereavement, injustice. If anguish were visible, almost the whole of this benighted planet would be enveloped in a dense dark vapor, shrouded from the amazed vision of the heavens! And the products of it all will be mainly evil - historically considered. But the historic version is, of course, not the only one. All things and all deeds have a value in themselves, apart from their "causes" and "effects." No man can estimate what is really happening sub specie aeternitatis. All we do know, and that to a large extent by direct experience, is that evil labors with vast power and perpetual success - in vain: preparing always the soil for unexpected good to sprout in.

- from "The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien"

1 comment:

Arevanye said...

One thing that struck me deeply while reading Tolkien's letters to Christopher and others during the war, was his deep gnawing worry for the safety of his son. His uncertainty and anxiety over what battles were taking place and even his son's whereabouts are palpable.

I don't know how fathers and mothers cope with sending their children to war, other than frequent and fervent prayers.