This is such a beautiful letter!
The Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien is one of the greatest and most popular writers of the 20th century. He was also a Catholic husband and father to four children. He passed away 1973, but his works continue to inspire millions throughout the world.
The author’s third child Christopher Tolkien was also an author, illustrator, and academic. He edited and published many of his father’s literary works. He was the last of J.R.R.’s three boys to pass away on Jan. 16, 2020 at age 95.
One letter written in 1944 by J.R.R. Tolkien recently surfaced on Reddit. The letter truly reveals the fatherly love Tolkien had for his son.
Here’s a portion of the letter below:
Here’s what this portion of the letter reads:
“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 vapour, shrouded from the amazed vision of the heavens! And the products of it all will be mainly evil – historically considered.
“But the historical version is, of course, not the only one. All things and deeds have a value in themselves, apart from their ’causes’ and ‘effects’. No man can estimate what is really happening at the present sub specie aeternitaris. All we do know, and that to a large extent by direct experience, is that evil labours with vast power and perpetual success – in vain: preparing always only the soil for unexpected good to sprout in. So it is in general, and so it is in our own lives. ….
“But there is still some hope that things may be better for us, even on the temporal plane, in the mercy of God. And though we need all our natural human courage and guts (the vast sum of human courage and endurance is stupendous, isn’t it?) and all our religious faith to face the evil that may befall us (as it befalls others, if God wills) still we may pray and hope. I do.
“And you were so special a gift to me, in a time of sorrow and mental suffering, and your love, opening at once almost as soon as you were born, foretold to me, as it were in spoken words, that I am consoled ever by the certainty that there is no end to this.
“Probable under God that we shall meet again, ‘in hale and in unity’, before very long, dearest, and certain that we have some special bond to last beyond this life – subject of course always to the mystery of free will, by which either of us could throw away ‘salvation’. In which case God would arrange matters differently!”
Several users commented with appreciation for the beautiful letter.
This user said, “Thanks for sharing. His collected letters are definitely worth a read, and are full of beautiful insights into his views and published works. Isn’t it sad to realize that people don’t write each other letters like this anymore? I try to make my emails interesting & all, but it’s not the same.”
Another user said, “I’ve always been amazed at his candor with his sons. I have a great relationship with my dad, but he and I aren’t nearly as open as the Tolkien men were..”
This user added, “Tolkien and Lewis had such a way with words. I can hardly think the shortening of our word choices over time has brought more clarity and not less of it.”
Another user remembered Christopher Tolkien.
The user commented, “RIP Christopher Tolkien. He passed away a few weeks ago.”