My reading has fallen almost to non-existence since we've been in Seattle. My quiet moments (few as they always seem) have been devoted to writing away at my little book or embroidering. The past three days, however, I went on a thrilling reading adventure. It much revitalized a heart in need of being swirled in the delicious whirlwind which only a good book can bring. This is the book: When Knighthood Was in Flower by Edwin Caskoden (pseudonym for Charles Major)
My friend Lanier put me onto it here, and I've learned to trust whatever books she recommends. If you want to read more about it, you should follow Lanier's link. I call this type of writing high Victorian--full of (hard-to-believe but wonderfully refreshing) virtue and (over-the top but oh how it will make your heart swell) love. If you like Augusta Evans, I feel very safe recommending this one to you. If you tend towards the cynic...you might not like it so well.
This is my favorite quote from the book:
I do not mean that Mary was in love, but that she had met, and for the first time felt the touch, yes even the subtle, unconscious, dominating force so sweet to a woman, of the man she could love, and had known the rarest throb that pulses in that choicest of all God's perfect handiwork--a woman's heart--the throb that goes before--the John the Baptist, as it were, of coming love.
I love it partially because I know precisely what it means, having experienced it myself. When I first met Jeremiah I knew, I just knew, he was the one God had been protecting me for. I had never told a boy I loved him before Jeremiah, because I knew I was still waiting for something that had not been given to me yet. However, on a summer night in May, sitting on the tailgate of a white Dodge truck, with stars reflecting off the little pond we were pondering I heard the words, "I love you, and you don't have to say anything back, but I do." And finally, a heart who had been waiting for, what seemed like forever, could finally burst forth and answer back, "I love you, too."
He may have said the words first, but his heart was not the John the Baptist of the rest of our dating relationship. There was actually one point when I worked up the nerve to tell him, "I know you're the one, I've always known, and I'm just waiting for the time." I was answered by silence. "Do you not feel the same way?" And his answer, "I can't say that for sure." Oh there were some dark days on our road! But don't all good love stories suffer twists and turns and snags?
Before the days of iPods and iTunes--even before Napster!--Jeremiah used to call and leave songs on my voice mail. I would rush out to my car each day after school, to see what message he had left. The first song he left on my phone was John Denver's "I'd Rather be A Cowboy." When he started recording, the words were saying this:
We were just beginning it was such an easy way. Layin' back up in the mountains makin' songs for sunny days.
It was a perfect description of how this springtime beginning to our relationship felt, and if you could have seen me in my car as I listened to those words, you would have thought my face was going to break off if my smile grew any larger. However, if you know the song (you can listen here if you like) you know that it quickly makes a turn for the worse:
She got tired of pickin' daisies, and cookin' my meals for me. She can live the life she wants to, yeah, it's alright with me. I think I'd rather be a cowboy. I think I'd rather ride the reigns. I think I'd rather be cowboy, than to lay me down and love the lady's chains.
Now, as a man who loves music for music's sake, I now know he was just taken up by the song and wanted to share it with me. As a woman who listens to music for poetry's sake--searching for hidden meaning everywhere--I thought I was being broken up with over voicemail.
Anywho, we worked that one out, and that song has become one of our absolute favorites, partly because it expresses a deep desire that we've been fostering since those very first days together. The idea of wanting the freedom of fresh air and open spaces--
I'd rather live on the side of a mountain, than wander through canyons of concrete and steel. I'd rather laugh with the rain and sunshine, then lay down my sun down in some starry field...
And there have been moments, during all of this long medical training, when I've reminded him of those very words. When I've said, "I can't do this any more. I just want you. Can't we just go live in the woods somewhere. I'll learn how to garden, I swear!"
But now, we're almost through. Almost finished with the training, and we stand here still feeling a lot like those two kids who wanted nothing more than to disappear to a mountainside together,...but we also feel like two adults who have learned that we value and need community. We have signed a contract to move back to Dothan--I don't think I've told y'all that yet. We are so, so very excited to move back home, but are feeling really torn about where God wants us to put down our roots when we get there. I'm flying home with the girls next week to look at houses. Pray for me friends! It's such an exciting time in our lives, but pray for us if you will. That God will make it clear what His plan is because, ultimately--land or no land, community or countryside, we want desperately to be in His will.