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June 19th, 2010

Contentment readings

I started two new books today. I think they make a very good pair:

Alone with God. God & Suffering: New Sermons from Solitary Confinement by Richard Wurmbrand
Notes on Spain and the Spaniards, in the Summer of 1859, with a Glance at Sardinia by J. Johnson Pettigrew

The first book is a collection of sermons that were composed and memorized by a man who was held in solitary confinement in a Communist prison. In the introduction he explains, "These sermons are not to be judged for their dogmatic content. I did not live on dogma then. Nobody can. The soul feeds on Christ, not on teachings about Him." I hope that through this book I'll come to a deeper love for God and for His people, especially those brothers and sisters who are mistreated for their faith in Jesus.

The second book was written by a Southern intellectual and gentleman around the beginning of the Civil War. He traveled to Europe on two occasions and embraced his time abroad as a treasure. In the introduction he explains, "Another book! Yes, but a small one, and mostly about Spain...For provocation, I can pretend little beyond the itching which tempts everyone to commune with others about what has profoundly interested himself...My whole ambition has been to present it as it appeared to me - a faithful reflex of the journey." General Pettigrew's words resonate with me in a way that few writers' words do. I almost feel as though I have felt the heart behind the words as though it were my own. I don't want to say that I hope to love myself more by reading this book or that I want to cling more to this life after reading it, but I do want to fully explore and experience the depths of this human soul that I call Megan to see what traces of the eternal I can find there.

I think that in balance (destitution and wealth/spiritual and worldly), these two books will provide a good source of wisdom. I want to be able to say with honesty: "I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need." Phil 4:12

After all, I am still just a girl

The autumn field rested quietly beneath a sky of lazy, grey clouds. A few scattered raindrops tapped the land of the old battlefield. She sat with her back against a tree, asleep. Her backpack was sitting next to her and in her lap laid a closed book that she had been reading while surveying the area. Her cap soaked in the stray rain drops that fell, protecting her slumber.

Suddenly, a cough roused her from her nap. Looking up, and blinking, she saw that it was a gentleman in a grey uniform and cap.

"I do apologize for waking you, but it's beginning to rain..." he said.
"Oh, thank you," she said, restraining a yawn.

She put a hand against the tree to help her stand, and found an open hand offered to assist her.
Taking it and rising, she replied, "Thank you, sir."
"My pleasure," was the reply.

She looked around the spot where she had been sitting and took up her bag, hesitating in an attempt to prolong the meeting a little longer. This gentleman was a reenactor - and how long it had been that she had tried to talk to one of these people! Mustering a little foolhardy courage, she asked, "Excuse me, sir, but would you mind if I asked a few questions about the figure you are representing today? Or are you in a hurry to leave?"
"I wouldn't mind at all. I'm in no hurry."
"Oh, lovely," she said turning toward the road and popping open her umbrella. She held it high above both their heads.

"Ah, I don't need an umbrella," he protested.
"Sure you do!" she insisted.
"Well, if you insist, then let me at least carry it."
"Thank you," she said, offering the umbrella to him.
The rain started pattering harder on their mobile rooftop as they walked along toward the Seminary.

Add a pair of mint juleps from the old pub in the center of town, cheesecake from the Lincoln Diner just down the block across from the old railroad station, and a nice officer's kepi of my very own from the sutler's store on Steinwehr Ave and that would be my ideal day, I think :) I love Gettysburg and I miss it so very much.

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