Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Spending some time reading


I know... there are e-mails and letters waiting for a reply and cookies to be made and a load of laundry to throw in the wash and all kinds of other places for my time and attention (not to mention a high maintenance Maine Coon).

But we've been under a cloud of fog (literally) for a couple of days now and all I want to do is cozy up and let my mind wander or just sleep.  I can assure you this weather is making me drowsy because I fell asleep watching Dante's Peak yesterday!  Not only did I sleep through loud special affects but I woke up at the time I'd planned to serve dinner.  Fortunately, I had made chili ahead of time and only had to warm it up.

I was still wide awake late last night when Christopher texted me from Miss M.'s house, asking if it was foggy at our house (wondering if he could make it home safely as it is a long drive).  Then receiving a call not too long afterward to pray for his safety as it was not big trucks on the dark narrow highway causing him problems... there had been no less than three deer running out on the highway (this time of year?).  He did make it back to his apartment safely.   But I digress...

Perhaps it is the Wuthering Heights weather outside or the dark shading inside (much like an old black and white movie) but I decided to spend a few days reading.  I don't know why I feel decadent reading in the middle of the day.  I don't feel that way when I take a break and watch a  TV show... but reading?  I suppose it is a hangover from all those years in which the only time I had to read was late at night.

I picked up The Gentleman's Choice (George MacDonald) but A Severe Mercy was sitting next to it, as if to remind me I'd set it aside and it definitely needed my attention.  While a beautifully written book, "Mercy" is not an easy read.

But I decided indeed it did need to be finished in its' re-reading and I am so glad I did.  For in my first reading so long ago, I remembered mostly the sad-obsessive at times- love story and the fact the book is all about the death of a loved one.  But this time... this time I was captivated by the middle of the book which is about their years in England and their coming to know Christ at Oxford.    I also came to see another side of C. S. Lewis I hadn't before, from one who knew him well.

If you have struggled with A Severe Mercy, go to Chapter IV (Encounter With Light) and read the chapters about their Oxford years.  I think I especially enjoyed it because they read books I love and in some ways it reminds me of my teenage Jesus People years when we would sit for hours upon hours talking about the things of the Lord (which were so new to us).

I loved this paragraph where he writes about being drawn to Jesus but not ready to admit He is the Son of God, yet...

"I might not have admitted it, but I was coming to love the Jesus that emerged from the New Testament writings.  I had impulses to fall on my knees and reach out to him.  I suspected that all the yearnings for I knew not what that I had ever felt... when autumn leaves were burning in the twilight, when wild geese flew crying overhead, when I looked up at bare branches against the stars, when spring arrived on an April morning... were in truth yearnings for him.  For God.  I yearned towards him. "

I must admit to my sweet friend who has been encouraging me that I must "read MacDonald" that I am also enthralled with The Gentlewoman's Choice (the title of the book in which Michael Phillips has modernized the English from the original Scottish Weighed and Wanting).  I can see why even C. S. Lewis was so highly influenced by his writing.

I once tried to read a nonfiction book by George MacDonald that had not been "translated" so to speak and I must admit giving up as the old Scottish English was not easy to read.  I'm so thankful to Michael R. Phillips for translating all these books.

There is a stack of books vying for my attention on the coffee table in the living room.  I leave them there that I want to read soon.  Then there are those stacked on bookshelves which are next in line... until I pull another off the shelf to look up a phrase or a paragraph and find myself reading it an hour later.

Sigh... there is that whole finite thing again... wanting to do so much but finding myself living within the margins of 24/7 days.

Picture:  A Good Book; allposters.com (some posters are no longer available)

8 comments:

Vee said...

Is it possible that there are original text books by George MacDonald? I have read one of his that I truly enjoyed, though I do not remember the title and another that I couldn't get through at all. Hmmm...

A Severe Mercy is sitting at my right hand right now. I tossed it down when things were a bit unsettled in my own family. Too intense. So I will follow your advice and return to it. That's what I get for reading the end first.

SUGAR MOON said...

I read a Severe Mercy several months ago. You remind me that I wanted to reread it. I know there is so much there that I missed in just trying to get through it. I think the second time around will be much more enjoyable. Enjoyed the post. Have a nice day.

Bonnie said...

Brenda,
Naturally, I am thrilled that you are reading MacDonald, although I find "Wee Sir Gibbie" a superior book. Maybe you will read it if the gloomy weather holds? I just recently finished re-reading "A Severe Mercy" myself. There is something about that book that draws me over and over again. I think I was about 18 the first time I read it. I am home resting myself, having one of my post-viral fatigue episodes. Why is it so hard to rest? I thoroughly enjoyed your Sunday post. The decorating magazines and sometimes the decorating blogs can add to my discontentment. They would have us believe that all there is to live is keeping up with the trends and changing out our decor and furnishings. Good of you to point that out. One hears so little about it and the younger women especially need to hear it and be free from it. Be well my friend. I read your blog every day.

matty said...

These are books that sound so interesting to me. I have been reading Elizabeth Goudge and finding here delightful!

If I didn't have to work, I could do so much more reading! I can't wait to retire. I will do nothing but read for a year! LOL

I wonder if "Severe Mercy" is on tape? I can do that while I drive! LOL The perfect world!

Be safe in the fog!

HeatherMavis said...

This past Fall I read Back of the North Wind by George McDonald. It was a little hard to get used to but I stuck with it and by the end I was glad I did.
The weather here in Connecticut, not wet but cold. All I've wanted to do the last couple days is sit in my favorite chair reading blogs and email and sewing. I've managed to get laundry done and wash dishes. I am trying to "extend grace" to myself for this... to continue homespunheart's theme this morning.

Mrs.Rabe said...

I have been reading a lot too...maybe I need to do a post on that soon!

Glad you are able to snuggle in cozily and read (and snooze) the afternoon away!

Deanna

Heather L. said...

George MacDonald was a favorite of mine when I was in my teen years and I read as many as I could find, which was quite a few. Haven't read one in several years.

Karen Andreola said...

C.S. Lewis is amazing.
I got lost driving in fog once.
During one such foggy dark day this week when - just as you say - I felt like I was walking around in a black and white movie - I began reading directly after breakfast. I sat down on the sofa (turned on the light) and opened a thick poetry book carefully because it is so old and crumbling. (I keep it in a plastic bag). I rarely if ever dilly dally in the morning with leisure-reading because my best energy is spent elsewhere. It was luxurious and picked me up from the winter doldrums.

I, too, came to know Jesus personally as a result of the Jesus movement. 1977 was a wonderful time for becoming "born again," wasn't it?

A paperback from a visit to a used-book-shop (run by seniors by-the-way) waits to be read on our shelf. It is by George Macdonald with Michael Phillips name on the cover as editor, titled "The Curate's Awakening."
Karen A.