Chesterton tells a story of two boys in a front garden who were visited by a fairy. They each made a wish. One boy wished to big and the other wished to be small. The boy who wished to be big wanted to travel the world. The boy who wished to be small merely wanted to have a greater love and enjoyment of his front garden, to indeed make a mountain out of a molehill.
Tolkien tells us of a hobbit who was visited by a wizard, who wasn't given a wish but a command. The command was to go on an unexpected adventure away from home, away from domestic pleasures, away from the safe and comfortable hearth.
One of Chesterton's boys chose to become large and explore to world, to leave home and find everything he needed away from home.
Tolkien's hobbit was commanded to leave home, to see that while the Shire is indeed necessary for life, so are unexpected adventures.
Chesterton's character fell asleep in a field and had his head cut off by a theologian, who was astonished to have stumbled upon a giant.
Tolkien's hobbit returns home, and while thought by his relatives to be dead in a field somewhere was very much alive, we could say awakened ten times over.
There is something of a twisting of these two plots happening to us today, amidst the covid cloistering. We as modern men are like the boy in Chesterton's story who chose to be big, to be modern, to be globe trotters, to despise our home, who, in many ways, like the boy in the story, have ended up dead and headless in the field of history. But though we are like the boy, we have not been asked, like Bilbo, to leave our home during this pandemic, but to commit ourselves to it.
The feeling modern men and women will have in the coming weeks is that of being a modern giant who has been crammed back into a modest domicile, a domicile we have unfortunately outgrown because of our modern pride and modern technology and postmodern gorging. One of two things will happen to each of us: either our large bodies will stretch the house and blow the roof off, wrecking the whole thing. Or the confining strength of the home will make us small again, back to a size we were all along intended to be.