You will not think clearly about your life until you think mythically. Until you see with the eyes of your heart.
About halfway through their journey—following a great deal of hardship and facing a good deal more—Frodo's devoted friend and servant, Sam Gamgee, wonders out loud: "I wonder what sort of tale we've fallen into?" Sam is at that moment thinking mythically. He is wondering in the right way. His question assumes that there is a story; there is something larger going on. He also assumes that they have somehow tumbled into it; been swept up into it. This is exactly what we've lost. Things happen to you. The car breaks down, you have a fight with your spouse, or you suddenly figure out how to fix a problem at work. What is really happening? David Whyte says that we live our lives under a pale sky, "the lost sense that we play out our lives as part of a greater story."
What sort of tale have I fallen into? is a question that would help us all a great deal if we wondered it for ourselves. After my friend Julie saw The Fellowship of the Ring, she turned to the girl with her and whispered, "We've just gotten a clearer view of reality than we usually see." Yes—that's the kind of "seeing" we need; that is our reality. What grabbed me was the theatrical trailer for the film. In a brilliantly crafted three-minute summary, the preview captures the essential mythic elements of the story. As scene after scene races before the eyes of the viewer, and a narrator describes the tale, these lines cross the screen:
Fate has chosen him.
A Fellowship will protect him.
Evil will hunt him.