Saturday, April 20, 2013

{Between Books}

The other day, Aidan slowly walked up to me with his bottom lip protruding and buried his head in my shoulder. I cupped his chin, tipped his head and said, knowingly, "You finished your book, didn't you?" He nodded yes. But then I smiled as I reminded him of the next volume, "There's more!" That was all it took, and he was off, eager for more delights on the mountain.

Oh, I know that strange pang that grows with the approaching end of a book. I read quickly because I want to know what's next, but then I slow down and savor because I don't want it to end quite yet. All too soon the book is done and I find myself floundering, disoriented. I want more of the same (assuming it's a good book) but I don't know how to leave the characters I've grown to love.

Claude Monet

The other day I found myself between books. I had just finished The Shepherd of the Hills. I am also reading Heidi to Avery, so I've been in a very nature-ish mood when it comes to reading. I longed for more of that, but wasn't sure where to turn.

Should I take a tangent and explore something completely different? Should I re-read a favorite like Emily of New Moon? Oh, the agony of decision. And then, out of the blue, it hit me. I needed to read The Yearling. It was the strangest, most unaccounted for impulse. Never have I felt a strong desire to read it. (Well, I suppose that's not entirely true because I found it at a book sale long ago, bought it and tucked it away on the bookshelf for "someday.")

Turned out that "someday" had come. I climbed on a chair to reach the old volume which had labored through the years to develop that warm, inviting old-bookish scent which Little Miss simply adores. (This child does have her moments of perfection.) Snuggling under a blanket I began, and quickly found myself swept into the beauty of Rawlings' vivid, rich description of a Florida wilderness I'd never even thought about. I found my mind expanding with new thoughts and ideas just as Jody's own character grew and developed.

I felt an aching twinge of fellowship with Jody as he explored the woods in that first chapter, marveling at the beauty of creation and the swelling, pulsing birth of spring:

A mark was on him from the day's delight, so that all his life, when April was a thin green and the flavor of rain was on his tongue, an old wound would throb and a nostalgia would fill him for something he could not quite remember.

Oh, I know that ache, that throb for the something I cannot quite remember. Occasionally I catch glimpses of it. A scent on the wind reminds me. A flash of rainbow lightning surprises me out of the darkness. I carry on a brief conversation with a chickadee who, I like to think, assumes I'm another little chickadee. We chirp together and I marvel.

I grasp and yearn and crave, yet the complete picture of beauty is just beyond my reach. And then I remind myself that this feels familiar for a reason. I am made for this. I am made to find delight in beauty and complete satisfaction in the Creator of beauty. Like Jody, a mark is on me: I am chosen, chosen for beauty, chosen for God's glory. Therefore, in order to find complete fulfillment, I must remember. I must remember to keep my hand nestled in my Creator's hand. I must remember that His ways are pleasant and His paths are peace. 

When I stray, I'm restless, floundering -- between books, if you will. I forget the remembering and I'm left with a throb of nostalgia for something I can't quite put my finger on. Until I return. Then I bury my head in my Savior's shoulder and He cups my chin, tilts my head and gently reminds me: There's more, honey. There's more! My eyes glisten with hope, and I remember.

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  2. Love, love, love that book! Being a native Floridian, it brings back so much nostalgia of my own childhood running amuck with my brothers in the woods...but, like you said there's that ache brought up from remembering the awe of creation that points us to the Creator. We can only find our rest and refuge in Him. Here's a blog post I wrote about our adventures reading The Yearling:

    1. Oh, how fun, Chanda! Thanks for the link -- I look forward to reading it!



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