Thornton Wilder

For my Intro to Theatre Arts class, I decided to read as many plays as possible. Jot down the looong bibliography in the back of my college textbook, a quick trip to the library, and now an armload of books. Mainly modern plays, a few classic ones I had read already (Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde!), and some plays that just looked fun.

And I plunged in.

Tennessee Williams ... Arthur Miller ... Moliere... why all these depressing endings? Three hours of reading, and I didn't find one single uplifting play. They all had great ideas, particularly Arthur Miller's The Crucible, but such sad endings. Tennessee Williams' plays Summer and Smoke and A Streetcar Named Desire seemed merely a loud, pleading cry of, "Why?" The resolutions all point to the depravity of mankind.

Enough was enough!

I glanced through the pile of books, quickly dismissing all titles that had the smallest tint of sadness. Waiting for Godot? Nope. Buried Child? Most definitely not. The weirdly modern artwork on the cover of Bertolt Brecht's plays caused me to delve deeper into the book bag.

A small, leather-bound volume waited unassuming at the bottom of my book bag. The Angel That Troubled The Waters. The gold, engraved name "Thornton Wilder" quietly stood at the bottom right-hand of the otherwise blank cover.

I read through the book of plays in an hour. The plays were maximum 5 pages each, the collection contains 16 of these mini-plays. His writing is so different, in a good way, but still. I couldn't make up my mind whether I enjoyed it or not.

From Brother Fire

Isola: My mother says the fire is a wicked thing.

Brother Francis: [turning] What, Sister Annunziata, how can you say that? - Why, what would cook your brother, what would keep you warm? And when you return from the mountain-tops, what else shines out from all the friendly windows of the world? Look at its flames, how they lean towards us!

Isola: It says: Give me something to eat. Give me something to eat.

Brother Francis: [excitedly] Yes, yes. Its warmth is a kind of hunger. [He edges the cloak into the fire] Look how it reaches for it. Wicked? Wicked? Never.

But it was not until I reached the last play, the namesake of the book, The Angel That Troubled The Waters, that I fell in love with his writing.

If it wasn't so long, I would quote the play in its entirety, it is a gem. One of the last lines sums up the entire play

"In Love's service only the wounded soldiers can serve."

Beautiful. If you ever feel like reading a few thought-provoking, simply odd, and uplifting plays, Thornton Wilder's short plays are just perfect.


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A Very Happy Bibliophile/Student

Ten books. All for $4.70. All in great condition. Thrift-stores are my love.


A hardcover of Mere Christianity, All This Wise And Wonderful, and The Prose Edda, among others.

College classes have started - Intro to Theatre Arts, Philosophy, and History of the World. Sophocles, Socrates, and Shakespeare for school? OH YES!

Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Spanish, Literature (Dickens!), Roman Empire (Gibbon!), and dance all start next week.

It all adds up to one very happy girl.

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Joy Comes in the Morning

"For staff we have His promise, whose 'word is tried, whose way perfect:' for present hope His providence, 'who gives the shield of salvation, whose gentleness makes great;' for final home His bosom, who 'dwells in the height of Heaven;' for crowning prize a glory, exceeding and eternal.

Let us finish our course, and keep the fait, reliant in the issue to come off more than conquerors; ' Art thou not from everlasting mine, Holy One? We shall not die!'"

-
From Villette, by Charlotte Brontƫ

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Helpless.

"Though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul."


"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

2 Corinthians 12:9

It is heart-breaking, humbling, the worst and best time of my life right now. I felt, feel, helpless, watching loved ones cry out in pain and being completely unable to do anything about it. The latest? My uncle is in recovery from open-heart surgery, a quadruple bypass, on top of a whole lot of other trials that have come within this past week. I broke down on Wednesday, crying and clinging to my Mom, as we held on to our only thread of hope. The golden thread of Prayer. It is our last resort, when we realize the only act we can do is appeal to the One in control of all.


Beyond all else, beyond the joy of sheer happiness, there is the solid Joy that comes after the tempest. Comfort beyond all comforts, nothing can express it. It is a tearful Joy, where we realize that, in just a few days, or moments, or weeks, we will either say, "Death be not proud" or thank God for his deliverance.

Until that moment - we wait.

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart.
Psalms 27:14

All praise to Him, the author and finisher of our faith.

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Eighth Day of Christmas: Light






It's a small wonder, but one nonetheless.

Light.

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Moondance





Well, its a marvelous night for a moondance...

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Thoughts for the New Year

From one of my favorite characters in literature...

"She stirred in her chair and sighed. "It's a funny thing," she said thoughtfully, looking with wide, faraway eyes into the low, red flames. 'The thing life is fullest of is the thing we find hardest to believe in. New beginnings. The incredible gift of a fresh start. Every new year. Every new day. Every new life. What wonderful gifts! And when we spoil things, and life goes all wrong, we feel dismayed, because we find it so hard to see that we can start again. God lets us share it too, you know. Only God can give life, it's true - make a new baby or a new year - but he gives us the power to give each other a new beginning, to forgive each other and make a fresh start when things go wrong."

Spoken by Mother, The Hawk and The Dove, Penelope Wilcock


And from C.S. Lewis...

"If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or
other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who
achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while
the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come."

"Learning in War-Time", The Weight of Glory

New Year's Resolutions, these "these mad-cap capers with our own human wills, these frivolous encounters with our personal resolve," as The Autumn Rain excellently phrased it. When we make these (and I haven't for awhile), we seem to expect some amount of superhuman strength to come from the New Year, so we can carry out these resolutions as we never did in the years before. We fail, inevitably, and wait for the next year to make yet another long list of resolutions.

But if I could choose one resolution, it would be to persevere. And springing off that premise, I would have a list.

There is a beautiful frame right above my bed, a gift I brought home after my past visit with my dear friends. In lovely calligraphy, there is this quote, also from Mother (Hawk and the Dove).

"I would say that because we all have our failings and weaknesses, because each of us is only human, a friend - a good friend - is someone who helps you to persevere. When the going gets tough and you're on the point of jacking it all in, the people you will remember with thanks and love are the ones who helped you, in those moments, to persevere."

And with that thought, I hope to start this new year.

May you all have a blessed New Year.

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