READING: Father Melancholy's Daughter by Gail Godwin. I just finished this book yesterday and closed the cover with a feeling of admiration for what the author accomplished, accompanied by a strange feeling of ambivalence. This book is the story of a girl, Margaret, growing up in Virginia, the daughter of an Episcopal clergyman and his much-younger wife. Margaret's father is inclined toward depressions, which he likens to a trip "behind the Black Curtain," and her mother, an artistic soul, begins to realize that these "trips" are bordering on the self-indulgent. When a woman friend from her boarding school days comes to the rectory for a flying visit, Margaret's mother goes off on a few days' "vacation," with Father Melancholy robustly encouraging this bold move (this was taking place in the early 1970s - I'm just glad that the lady went off on a trip to New York and I was spared some screechy, ranting bra-burning scene.)
The story unfolds as the "vacation" stretches from two weeks into a month, from a month into three months. Margaret, who was six, struggles with her mother's abandonment, especially when her mother and the friend go on a trip to England a year after the initial departure and Margaret's mother is killed in an accident while driving on the wrong side of the road.
Margaret and her father shore one another up: He raises her and she takes her mother's unenviable place in coddling her dad through his Black Curtain periods, finding peace and even joy in doing their duty to one another.
It was a good book, possibly even brilliant in parts. But the theology expressed in the book was just so annoying. I find it very hard to be patient with people who find it difficult to accept the inscrutable simplicity of a relationship with Jesus and instead bother their heads with questions like the one Father Melancholy asked a fellow priest: "The resurrection as it applies to each of us means coming up through what you were born into, then understanding objectively the people your parents were and how they influenced you. Then finding out who you yourself are, in terms of how you carry forward what they put in you and how your circumstances have shaped you. And then...and then...now here's the hard part! You have to go on to find out what you are in the human drama, or body of God. The what beyond the who, so to speak."
Whatever happened to finding out who your yourself are in terms of how you carry forward the new life birthed into your soul through, say, the sacrament of baptism? Who are you in -- just as a for instance -- Jesus Christ? How does a daily relationship with Him form your personhood, your conscience and your soul, combined with the circumstances of the way you were raised, the home life you experienced, the education you received?
LISTENING TO: A little Chopin, from one of those CDs that tickles me with a ridiculous title: Chopin's Greatest Hits. Could Chopin: Unplugged or Chopin: Live at Leeds be far behind?
FAVORITE NEW FIND: Webkinz World! Aisling was finally successful in registering at the Webkinz site and oh. My. Gosh. Webkinz World is, like, the most fun place ever. I am completely over my initial fury and now wish to own a Webkinz plush pet of my own, so that I can make a little virtual house for it, with a virtual piano and a virtual canopy bed and a virtual back yard with a virtual water feature. I have my eye on a Chinese pug at our neighborhood gift shop. I would like to name her Martha Jean and she will be my very own.
FAVORITE THING TODAY: This is the first day this week that we have not been moving at the speed of light. It is lovely to have a day of hanging around the house. Tomorrow it all starts back up again and continues on until next Wednesday. Aaaaahhhh.....
HOURS OF SLEEP LOGGED LAST WEEK: I feel CHEATED AND BETRAYED by the fact that I have taken a Benadryl three times this week and still have had trouble falling (and staying) asleep. Is my box of Benadryl....expired? Dreadful thought. Must go to upstairs medicine cabinet and check the date stamped on the little flap.
THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: Last few weeks of the Shakespeare Workshop are wrapping up, which is not a bad stress. It's been a wonderful class. However, earlier this week, I thought to send out (in my weekly email to the Shakespeare Moms) a note about the adult tickets I had ordered, asking them to check the list and make sure I had things right. Well, it is a DARNED GOOD THING I did that, because I had completely forgotten all about ordering one extra student ticket and two adult tickets. I had been somewhat uneasily feeling that I had too much Shakespeare money left - now I know why. I got those tickets ordered just under the deadline. Can you imagine how much those mothers would have wanted to administer a beatdown to me if they showed up at the theater for the Hamlet performance and I'd stammered out, "Uhhhmmm....errrrr....It seems I forgot to order your ticket, Mrs. Pleasedon'tleavevisiblebruises."
PRAYING FOR: Baby Lily is home! Young Peter is home! Baby Lily's G-tube surgery is healed of the staph infection she contracted in the hospital (!) and she is now presumably surrounded by a swarm of older brothers and wearing lots of pink. Young Peter's proton radiation therapy is over - now it's just the waiting to see if the radiation successfully annihilates the cancer. He is home, surrounded by a swarm of older (and younger) sisters and wearing whatever little boys wear when they spend late-summer days outside playing. His mother reports that his appetite and his energy level are both very good. Deo gratias!
Also praying for the S. and the C. families, because they are so faithful to pray for us.
TWD Dorie's Cookies: My Newest Chocolate Chip Cookies - For June, the Dorie's Cookies group participants can chose from one of two recipes to post, one on the first Tuesday and the other being the post for the t...
2 months ago