So much for being a regular blogger. If you are reading this, then you have proved yourself of a faithful good will. I mean, to check in and see when I resurfaced from wherever it was I was after this long is awfully kind of you. I’m grateful. You’re a true cyberspace friend. To be honest, I’ve spent this summer trying to get soul, and heart, and brain back into some sense of order after a year (or really three) that was lovely, and somehow, intensely disorienting. I’m getting there. Pray for me. 🙂
As I have worked through the maze of my own thoughts over the summer, I have, as always, found the well written thoughts of my favorite authors deeply helpful in untangling my own. I’ve branched out a bit too, into new literary territory. Reading is, for me, a source of nourishment, a means of enrichment, but probably more than anything, it is one of the main ways by which my soul breathes in life. Survival, I guess you could say. There have been several books this summer that have burrowed deep tunnels of life into my soul, aired out darkness, lightened dim corners.
The first is one my brother recommended for years (I ought to have listened sooner): Cry, the Beloved Country. A novel set in South Africa, chronicling the journey of a native priest as he leaves the hills of his home to search for his missing son in Johannesburg. I’m going to write a longer review later, but for the moment, I just have to say, this is one of the humblest and sweetest dealings I have ever seen an author give to the subject of loss, and God’s presence in the midst of it. Pain, and God’s goodness still hovering round. The writing itself is lyrical, plaintive.
The second, I found oddly enough on a friend’s bookshelf in Beijing: The Evidential Power of Beauty. Do you know what I loved about this book – it basically confirms that God is everything your heart desires him to be. Imagine if you could fix every bit of the world to perfection, make up a true history to satisfy every human desire for peace, beauty, fellowship, love. Well, it’s all there in God in his kingdom. That’s it. Perfection. The author takes you on this sweeping tour of beauty throughought the world; from particle physics, to quantum physics, to surveys of all created life, animal, plant, human, and then to the crowning beauty of a virtuous man or woman, and the God who made them. It’s a sort of celebration. I loved it.
Last, for now, The Bee Keeper by one of my old-time favorite authors, Gene Stratton Porter. The story of a WWI vet with a shrapnel wound, the story follows Jamie as he sets out on an adventure up the coast of California, assuming his wound will kill him along the way. When he stumbles into the life and charge of a noble old bee keeper’s home right next to the ocean, the stage is set for his healing through the rich beauty of the coast, the tang of ocean, and nourishment of huge, fresh tomatos. But then, he meets the Storm Girl… This is an old fashioned book full of old fashioned sentiment about family, patriotism, and the healing power of beauty and friendship. It’s a lovely summer read, but nourishing to the soul in every aspect as well.
All for now. Read, and love, and enjoy, and be in the greatest of grace this summer day.