Sunday, December 23, 2012
Friday, October 26, 2012
I'd like to talk about books.
Because books have shaped me. Books have grown me up. Books are a road-map of where I've been, and of where I've dreamed of going. So I'm going to slowly, quietly examine the books that loom large to me. I will write love letters to the books I love best.
Starting with Mrs Miniver, of course.
Every summer my family goes to the beach for a vacation, and for a few years we stopped along the way at a big antique store in Burgaw. The old tables and rings and quilts didn't interest me much, but on the second level, in the dusty lighting, they had a selection of books and magazines. I have perfected the Bookshelf Shopper stance, which involves standing with your head tilted to the side so as to read the sideways titles of the books.
I'm not sure why I picked up Mrs Miniver. It was a rusty brown hardback with scuffed corners and water stains. The gold lettering on the spine was so faded that I flipped to the title page. I'd never heard of the book, or the author. I read the first few pages anyway.
I fell in love.
Mrs Miniver is a series of newspaper columns originally published in 1937, written by Jan Struthers. They were later published as a collection two years later, just after WWII broke out. The columns center around a seemingly ordinary, but actually quite remarkable housewife named Caroline Miniver. What makes the stories sing is that they are grounded in truth -- the Minivers are thinly disguised versions of Jan Struthers' own family.
I think books should leave you with greater understanding. When you step into a book, you should walk out a little deeper, a little broader, a little taller. Every time I read Mrs Miniver, I come away looking at my world and my people in a gladdened way. Somehow Jan Struthers helps me understand why I love certain things, or how I think of certain ideas, or even what it's like work hard and long on a hot day. Mrs Miniver as a character lives deeply and enormously in each moment.
I have a hard time explaining my love for this book. As Mr Knightley said, "Perhaps if I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more." All I know is that when I read Mrs Miniver, it feels like home.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
I sometimes think that I don't matter to God.
I feel like God has checked me off His list, like, OK, now that I've saved Emma's eternal soul, I can put her over there and let her do her thing. She'll figure it out eventually. In my mind, God has essentially put me into daycare while He does much more important things. I feel like everything is up to me because I shouldn't bother God with my small heartbreaks and nosebleeds and temper tantrums. I take what seems like God's silence as forgetfulness.
Well Emma, let me be the first to tell you that you're completely wrong!
In one of the Elisabeth Elliot's books, she says that Christ must be our first love. I used to think that meant that Christ was the one we loved first, as in a fixed point in time. Like He was a high school sweetheart. Um wow Emma you have some really stupid preconceived notions about theology. Reading that book, it struck me like a lightning bolt. First love means the epicenter, the core, the foundation of all other loves. My love for Christ should inform my love for everything else, and it should inform me about Christ's love for me. After all, "we love because He first loved us."
As this realization washed over me, I felt troubled. Christ is not my first love. I am my first love.
I cried out to God. Help me fall in love with you. I can't bring anything. Almost immediately, I strongly felt the need to read about Christ, to learn about Him. To rediscover what He did for sinners, and for me. I began to research God's promises.
This brings me back to my first point: feeling forgotten. God doesn't put me into daycare. God is effecting all of His promises on me -- to prosper, to complete His work, to protect, to strengthen, to save. The Bible says nothing about God upholding His word when it's convenient for Him. It says that His steadfast love endures forever and He will not forsake the work of His hands.
"In awful and surprising truth, we are the objects of His love. You asked for a loving God: you have one. The great spirit you so lightly invoked, the "lord of terrible aspect," is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist's love for his work and despotic as a man's love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father's love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes." -C.S. Lewis
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
The Glasses Makeover.
I know I discussed glasses last time.
It's just that this one really gets me.
Let's begin our movie with a mildly successful young woman who is wearing glasses and possibly has frumpy hair. She is single and lonely, but probably has some endearing qualities that make you wonder why every guy in sight treats her like a toad. At some point during this movie she is going to experience a "glasses makeover" and obtain contacts, an attractive and loving partner, and a raise.
That's because our heroine was obviously too boring and uncomely to deserve good things when she has *cue gasp* GLASSES (oh the horror).
Alternately, we have Clark Kent. Everybody knows who Superman is. He's awesome. He's got super powers. He can FLY. But if this same person is wearing glasses, well, no one would suspect such an unassuming and unprepossessing man to be anyone special. But when he takes those specs off... SUPERMAN!
Generally my reaction to that moment goes something like this:
|lol ok this is an exaggeration|
Here I shall list several reasons why glasses are great:
1. This is obvious, but come on. It's an accessory. FOR YOUR FACE.
2. Have you ever just not wanted to pluck your eyebrows? Never fear! Your glasses frames will cover up those pesky hairs!
|Or lack thereof! Mr. Quinto's eyebrows have been partially shaved to accommodate his Vulcan makeup. But you wouldn't know if I hadn't told you!|
3. They help you see! I know contacts do that as well, but I think glasses are cooler. They were invented first and without them, some of use would wander around like this.
|lol where am I guys|
So in closing I just can't understand the "glasses makeover" that some films feel necessary. I know there are much worse forms of discrimination out there but give a little love to my bespectacled brethren!
Monday, February 20, 2012
I think nooks and kindles and every form of e-readers are an abomination.
A book isn’t quite a book unless it’s a book.
Books aren’t just meant to be read, they’re meant to be held and sniffed and stacked and dog-eared.
You don’t just look at the words, you cry and your tears leave that little round ripple on the page.
Books shouldn’t be in glass cases, they should be tucked in your shoulder bag or tossed on a bedside table or wedged into your coat pocket.
Books are roadmaps of where you’ve been; they stand on the shelf as the quiet companions of your past. They are the guardians of your memories. They are the most faithful lovers.
You can’t plug in a book. Books don’t run out of batteries.
You can keep your tablets and nooks and cold, slick readers. I shall stick to paper and binding and books.