All that is gold does not glitter--Not all those who wander are lost.
~ J.R.R Tolkien
In a poem, Bilbo Baggins authored the above quote. A rugged man named Strider is on his mind. The elderly Hobbit, saw something in the rough-edged Ranger from the North that no one else could see. Gifted with uncommon insight, a gift that few have, the elderly Hobbit captured the essence, the intrinsic quality, in the one also known as the Ranger from the North. The diminutive Baggins could separate appearance from reality.
So could Gandalf . . .
The quote doesn't show up in The Lord of the Rings, until spoken by Gandalf the Gray. The ageless Wizard used Baggins' words in a note he left at the Prancing Pony for the beleaguered Frodo. Gandalf was referring to Strider, and if you have seen the movie version of Tolkien's life work, you would understand why Frodo would need his uncle's intuition, and Gandalf's assurances. When Strider shows up, you are not sure if he is good or evil. He is shrouded in brooding mystery. Stubble face. Sunken, shadowy eyes. Long, black, oily hair gives the beholder the sense that they are looking at a fierce and dangerous man. A troubling presence. But the Ranger from the North is good. First impressions would say otherwise, but he would prove to be Frodo's, Sam's', Merry's, and Pippin's unalterable protector--appearance versus reality.
Strider didn't glitter, but he was pure gold. He may have appeared to be a maverick. A shiftless wanderer. But he is not lost. No, he is on a mission. He is also a man struggling to discover his grand destiny. Seeking. Striving. Pressing. Reality veiled by appearance. Who would have guessed that blue blood ran through his veins. The personal journey of transformation from Strider to Aragorn, the King, is rarely glamorous, and few stay in it.
Inside every man is a Strider. He is pure gold. A striving man. A struggling man. A battling man. A valiant protector. Often, his glitter is covered with the dross of a thousand attempts and failures. His steps may leave staggering imprints as he trudges through the sands of time. This man needs another man--a man gifted with uncommon insight. A man who can scrape away the patina and help him see his truest essence--his intrinsic qualities bestowed upon him by his Maker. One person who can stay with a rough edged Ranger convincing him that he is a king in the making--his present appearance is not yet his future reality.