I love me some Stephen Colbert. I am so glad he is a brother in Christ.
As best I can determine he is paraphrasing from a letter of Tolkien’s which state:
A divine ‘punishment’ is also a divine ‘gift’ (emphasis mine), if accepted, since its object is ultimate blessing, and the supreme inventiveness of the Creator will make ‘punishments’ (that is changes of design) produce a good not otherwise to be attained: a ‘mortal’ Man has probably (an Elf would say) a higher if unrevealed destiny than a longeval one.
Dang that is good. Also really cool to see two grown men dealing with the emotions of loss and grief (ht to Pamela on that one)