Lark Rise to Candleford is broadcast mid-morning on one of the Direct TV channels. I don't get a chance to watch it every weekday but once in awhile, I pour another cup of coffee and let it take me to an English countryside that no longer exists... which is why Flora Thompson, who wrote the nonfiction books the series is loosely based on... wrote about the village life she knew.
In her books, she documents in a lovely style of prose, the affects of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain. While some people saw the changes as exciting and a chance for more prosperity, the wiser among them understood that a way of life would soon disappear. Candleford would prosper but Lark Rise, which depended more on agricultural seasons, would eventually face the end of a way of life they had known for hundreds of years.
Yet, as good literature tends to do (and this is a fictional account of a nonfiction book), the viewer is drawn into the relationships and how it is through friends and family that challenges are met. Often the conversation takes place around a table, from the most humble of the Lark Rise homes, to the lovely residence of Miss Lane in the Post Office, to Sir Timothy's large estate house. Conversations often accompanied by tea and cake.
I am often disturbed by the changes happening in the world in general and the United States specifically. For that is my place on the world map. The law that passed in New York this week, which allows abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, raised an alarm that certainly didn't calm the unsettled feelings.
We so often feel out of control as the media and many politicians promote a world contrary to Christian values and honestly... mostly devoid of common sense. One begins to get the uncomfortable feeling that there are a lot more of them than there are of us.
I'm not sure if that is true (especially if we had our spiritual eyes open to the real Battle of the Ages) but what I came to realize once again this past week, is the importance of having a Place of Christ-centered calm and Beauty in this world which is continually becoming a darker place to live. It is up to you and to me and to us to have a place of Light in this darkness. A Sanctuary for those we care about.
When I think of warm and cozy and peaceful places, I don't think of Sir Timothy's estate but of the simple homes of Lark Rise and Miss Lane's dining room in Candleford. I think of Mole and Badger and Ratty in the beautiful Wind in the Willows classic. I think of the Little House on the Prairie houses and the parlor of Damerosehay which is grandmother's domain in Goudge's The Bird in the Tree and Pilgrim's Inn. (The entire Elliot trilogy is about the importance of Place.)
Most all of my favorite fictional homes are quite modest but have a loveliness which money alone cannot purchase. For amidst the china and books and art and plants and flowers and silver teapots and those items I find lovely... there must be a sense of peace for the room to provide peace to oneself and visitors.
Now, I understand that most homes are not all that quiet and can be far from peaceful. We also understand that no home is perfect, although cats will try to assure you that they have achieved that state of perfection humans can only strive to attain.
However, in the midst of chaos, most can achieve a Place that provides an oasis in the storms of life. For some, it is an entire house or apartment. For others, like me, I work on the entire house to make it lovely but it is one room that brings the most peace. Yet for many, as I had for a whole lot of years, it is one corner of one room in a house. That place on the sofa that was mine to read or watch a movie with a coffee table to hold hot beverages. (I have also known many a kitchen to have been a place of refuge while soup was being stirred or bread made.)
I understand that there are times in life where there may not be a chance to create a place of peace in a home but there are still places to seek peace. I have friends who are the most amazing gardeners, providing a Place of refuge out of doors that brings peace.
There have been cozy coffee shops, walking the board walk of a much loved town, a favorite stretch of beach on Lake Michigan, and a much enjoyed hiking trail that were places where I could go to find peace. But having a Place in my home is much preferred, especially when sleep is eluding me at midnight.
We all need a Place to find calm and Beauty... where prayers are said, music can be played (perhaps with ear phones necessary), your favorite books read, and The Book studied. So that your peace can become their peace.
So this last week when the news was so unsettling, I closed the door on my Study, read the Bible, read some of The Bird in the Tree, and talked to Jesus. I felt ready to meet the world again. Well, almost...
Mentioned in this Blog Post
Lark Rise to Candleford TV program... here. (Season One was not my favorite but essential to know the plot lines.)
The Illustrated Lark Rise to Candleford... here. (It only contains the first of the books and like most of the books in the Illustrated series, it is somewhat abridged. But in this case I like it a lot.)
The Wind in the Willows... here. (One of my very favorite books.)
Little House on the Prairie... here.
The Bird in the Tree (Book One)... here.
Pilgrim's Inn (Book Two)... here.
I may as well add The Heart of the Family (Book Three) ... here.
Image: Warming Up in Badger's Kitchen by Chris Dunn