May Book Love, I

May 1-7
"Rejoicing with the morning stars that Thou art our God and we Thy children. Make strong and wild this secret song within until it bursts forth at last to thy glory and our saying."

The Hungering Dark

"Was not everything, after all, like this bewildering woodland, this dance of dark and light? Everything only a glimpse, the glimpse always unforeseen."

The Man Who Was Thursday

"Don't believe the newspaper reports. Juliet was not arrested and taken away in handcuffs . . . She DID throw a teapot at Gilly Gilbert's head."

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

May 8-14
"There isn't anyone out there who isn't Seymour's Fat Lady... Don't you know that secret yet? And don't you know- listen to me, now - don't you know who that Fat Lady really is?. . . Ah, buddy. Ah, buddy. It's Christ Himself. Christ Himself, buddy."

Franny and Zooey

"Using words to talk of words is like using a pencil to draw a picture of itself, on itself. Impossible. Confusing. Frustrating." He lifted his hands high above his head as if stretching for the sky. "But there are other ways to understanding!" he shouted, laughing like a child. He threw both arms to the cloudless arch of sky above us still laughing. "Look!" he shouted tilting his head back. "Blue! Blue! Blue!"

The Name of the Wind

And we need reminding of what time can do, must only do; churn out enormity at random and beat it, with God's blessing, into our heads: that we are created, created, sojourners in a land we did not make, a land with no meaning of itself and no meaning we can make for it alone. Who are we to demand explanations of God. (And what monsters of perfection should we be if we did not?) We forget ourselves, picnicking; we forget where we are. There is no such thing as a freak accident. "God is at Home," says Meister Eckhart, "We are in the far country."
Holy the Firm

May 15-16

No quotes here, just some beautiful books with one of the most vulnerable, human, and absolutely wonderful protagonists in modern fantasy literature. The first book doesn't really hold a candle to the its sequels, but it's still good.


I know some of these quotes may not make sense taken out of context, but these books deserve to be read from cover to cover. Some turned my world upside-down (notably, The Man Who Was Thursday and Franny and Zooey), and others came very close to it. I loved them all. So far, May has been a delightful month of reading.


Shadow and Light

Life is complicated. Today affirmed that fact with a sfz(orzando). All things bright and beautiful, that was today: Shakespeare read-aloud on the cool grass in a deserted park with two younger brothers and handful of chocolates. Obviously, today was not the complicated part of life. But yesterday was, and Wednesday, and it's hard to believe Tuesday even existed in the same world of this Friday. Tuesday, the day that was tears, doctor visits, and the return of the oh-so-notorious antibiotics. This whole week has been a curious mixture of shadow and light. The shadows came from every bend and struck my body, heart and mind. They hurt. But the light was just as powerful as the dark.

Thursday, I met with friends, and we read together, talked, and prayed. We came out of that house with new and old truths that felt so real, so very close to us. It was beautiful.

A dear friend reminded me that "life is as fleeting as a breath." Oh yes, yes, and love is strong. These days of shadow and light make up the fabric of our very own narrative, the story that says: we are weak, and He is strong. He is also good, so very good.

It's easy to say that now, of course, now with healing wounds and fresh memories of gentle words and sunshine. I wish I could say I remembered His goodness during those times of shadow. I didn't. I cried, I whined and fell into a dreaful apathy where I almost didn't care if God was good or not. I wince, now with this solid truth of goodness in hand, I wince for my past sin and the future times when I know I'll forget this world-shattering truth. But for now. I'm grateful. And I can lay here on the grass with the dappled patterns of sunshine and shadow, and I can nothing. Just let the quiet wonder of His goodness flood my world.



This. Is. Beautiful.

I pull the words out, forcing them and hoping that speaking is believing. I say them again. I'm curled tight on my side, pushing the words into my heart. But really? I don't think this is beautiful. I think this hurts. It hurts so much, it hurts too much. And as hard as I try, I can't blend my words with my feelings. They mix as well as oil and water. I am not thinking of beauty or trust or sanctification, I just feel pain of the open, raw skin all over me. This is not beautiful.

I'm scared now, and words come tumbling out: memorized verses, promises, quotes. The words fill the empty space of room around me, as if I hope to conquer my feelings with a sheer multitude of words. They don't work. I sit up. I'm surrounded by empty air, and the words batter against my heart. I'm exhausted. Maybe they're right. And then, some words begin to sink in...

Words: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. This isn't the valley of the shadow of death, and still I fear evil, I doubt Good. But Thou art with me. I repeat those words, over and over. Thou art with me. Maybe this is beautiful.

Words: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. In my weakness, in this weak pathetic body. I wrestle with those words. They break, bend, shatter my excuses. His power stands here, whether I admit it or not. His power and glory, I am just his whiskey priest.

And now the words make sense. They burst upon me as rushing water. This is beautiful. Because He who suffered death and wrath, He stands for me. This is beautiful. Because He comes to my weakness and sin. He doesn't heal me tonight, He restoreth my soul. And now I can say and believe, at least for tonight:

This. Is. Beautiful.


Hope, Revisited

"This dragon of despair burns down all that I hold dear. I begin to sink deeper and deeper into depression and apathy. Why bother? It's a serious question. Why get up? Why make the bed? Why fight for anything at all? Because there is still hope yet! Because the dragon just might have a weakness. Because your heroes are uninformed enough to think they might have a chance. The fat lady hasn't sung. The concrete has not set yet. There is still time. Yes, this planet is wrought with horrors and pain and heartache, but there is beauty still. The dark horses are still running."

Jon Foreman, The Dark Horse


Three New Favorites


Wait and See

These days are filled with long hours of waiting. I'm not even exactly sure what I'm waiting for: maybe it's health, or the ever-hopeful idea of Biola next fall, or someone to just call and say, "Hi!" Either way, the days fall slowly and quietly (well, for the most part). But, somehow, through His grace, right now I really love this waiting. I love to sit outside and just watch. The sun cuts through the branches and makes dappled patterns on the ground. It truly is beautiful.

Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart.
Psalm 27:14


The Solution to Life

"The most interesting questions continue to be questions. They are the wrapping around a mystery. You should add 'perhaps' to every answer. Only uninteresting questions have a definite answer."

"Do you mean there's no solution for life?"

"I mean that for 'life', there are several solutions, therefore no solution."

"That's what I think, too, Mamie Rose, there's no solution to life other than living."

~ Oscar and the Lady in Pink by Eric-Emmanual Schmitt


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