At our homeschool group earlier today, I overheard a few of the youth talking about a video on how Lord of the Rings should have ended, and they retold the story. At the council in Rivendell when it was decided the ring needed to be destroyed, Gandalf says he has an idea, and the next thing you know, a few of the Fellowship are at the gates of Mordor taunting Sauron, while Gandalf and Frodo fly in on giant eagles and drop the ring into the fire. Gollum dives in from who knows where and catches it, but still falls into the fire. Ring destroyed, the deed is done, and they all fly happily home. (I searched it out to add it - sadly, while it is animated, the taunting part involves a mooning, so no posting here. If you look for it, cover the left side of the screen during that part.)
Listening to the story, I immediately started thinking, "But . . . ! But . . . !" when one of the listening youth quietly replied, "But Gandalf would never have become Gandalf the White."
They all stopped, and the conversation turned another direction. But I continued it in my mind.
Gandalf would never have become Gandalf the White.
Aragorn would never have become king.
Frodo would never have been stretched to his end multiple times and still come out successful.
We never would have fallen in love with Sam's big heart.
Merry and Pippin would have never been separated or have found their bravery.
Legolas . . . just rocks always, but we wouldn't have seen him take down an oliphant.
Gimli would still hate elves.
Boromir would never have felt the pull of the ring and realized the doom of it, enough to fight to the death to protect those saving it.
Gollum would never have made it as far back to good as he did (even for a while).
The Ents wouldn't have gone to war.
The strongest bonds of friendship I've ever read about or watched would never have been forged.
The four hobbits wouldn't appreciate their home nearly so much.
And on, and on. Just thinking about it all makes me want to read the books or watch the movies again to make notes on all that wouldn't have happened to make our hearts so full it overflows out our eyes when all those friends come together again in the end, successful.
Journeys aren't just about time, how long or short something takes. Journeys are about doing, growing, becoming.