“The counsel of Gandalf was not founded on foreknowledge of safety, for himself or for others,” said Aragorn. “There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark.”
This is one of my top two favorite Lord of the Rings quotes ever (the other one is coming soon). It is a truth of life that is both heartbreaking and hopeful: even if something ends in disaster, it might still be the right thing to do.
Almost exactly four years ago, I took a chance bigger than any other chance I’ve ever taken: I gave my whole heart to someone outside my family. Some people might call it “falling in love,” but the truth is, I made a conscious decision to travel into the world of a relationship. I knew it might fail, but to deny that new love would be to cloister my heart, to kill a part of myself. So onward I pressed.
The risk failed. The road ended in darkness. It caused me more pain and sorrow and horror than anything else in my life ever has. Several of my acquaintances and even a few of my friends told me, in so many words, “You should have known better.” Even in the midst of my grief, I knew they were wrong. There can be no chance of good if there is no risk of failure. I have a clear conscience, knowing that I loved as fully as a human can, that I trusted as fully as a human can, and that I didn’t allow cynicism or fear to dissuade me from my undying hope. To do otherwise would have been a lack of faith, would have killed the hobbit-sense that keeps me going on my bad days. The end of my relationship was dark, but I still firmly believe, as I believe of anything worth doing, that it was better to begin than to refuse.