Seems like a good day to join Ginny for a Yarn Along. I haven't done that in a very long while. I'm a woefully slow knitter. I don't have much new to show from week to week. For nearly a month, I've been working along on a Honey Cowl in Opaline Pashmina. Beautiful yarn, it's a pleasure to knit. But goodness, I hope I have it finished before the winter is over!
My great dilemma these days has been whether to knit or to read (or to sew, but that's tomorrow). I know there are people who can do both simultaneously. I am most definitely not one of them. Beth recommended Breath of Peace to me a couple weeks ago. I mistakenly had Amazon ship it to Christian's house instead of mine. I picked it up Saturday night when I dropped him off, then I finished the book Sunday -- all in one day. I'm kind of a binge reader like that. One of the biggest draws in homeschooling for me was the ability to give my children permission to do nothing but read some days. Very rarely do they request such a day. Somehow, I've not raised the voracious readers that I am. Come to think of it, I do have some accumulated Audible credit. I could listen to a book read to me and knit at the same time. Do you have some favorite fiction read aloud to recommend?
Back to the book. Very, very thoughtful. And thought-provoking. It's the story of an ex-monk in the 1300s who marries at midlife. I'm not sure the plot is even plausible and I do not want to debate the theology, but the messages woven into the fabric of the compelling story are well worth willful suspension of disbelief. I almost abandoned it in the beginning because I couldn't bear to read the dialogue between the man and his wife. Do people really talk to their husbands that way? I can't even imagine it. Late in the book, we hear the wife's thought process and maybe I better understand her. Still, I can't imagine even thinking so much snarkiness. I didn't really identify with either the woman or her husband exactly. I understood his ghosts well enough, but was astonsihed at her lack of compassion. Still, page after page, I was intrigued by their story. And the lessons here are excellent ones. None of us might be quite as extreme as these two, but all of us could work on our communication skills and our understanding of the history we bring to our marriages. And it seems it's possible that a married couple could learn a great deal from a community of monks who live mostly in silence. Hmmm.
I've gathered a few quotes for you here.
“When I cross the threshold of our home, for mercy’s sake, this should feel like a sanctuary. I should not be bracing myself for whatever might hit me this time—what reprimand, what fault exposed. As I open the door, I take a quick glance at your face to see if I must expect trouble. Sometimes, all is well. Sometimes my heart sinks and I think, oh save us, what have I done wrong now? Heaven knows I’m familiar enough with that kind of home: but I’ve always cherished the dream it doesn't have to be this way."
“Love, love is not a matter of endearments murmured in the bedroom and forgotten in the day’s work around the yard. Love is for the everyday, and its courtesies are for the ordinary round, not just for the conquest of seduction.”
"I think, if you are willing to let things go sometimes, not have to have everything done right, that will help. So what if the fox steals a hen or two? Is that more serious than letting the devil steal your marriage? Do you really want William dancing like a puppet while you pull the strings, afraid to offend you, frightened of what you'll say if he makes a mistake?"
"It's a hard lesson to learn and it asks a lot of anyone. I think even when we've practiced for years it takes more than most of us have, to get it right. Again and again in community here, I have to ask my brothers' forgiveness when I forget myself and say something cutting or contemptuous or intolerant. And I imagine it must be the same in marriage. Except, in the night, where we have our holy silence to help us, you married folk are also blessed with an extra way to put things right."
"Maintaining careful courtesy and gentle speech began to drain Madeleine's resources after a while. She wondered if the brothers at St. Alcuin found it as hard work as this, or if it somehow came naturally to them. Even so, she had to admit, pleasant and cheerful conversation added something of a flavor of courtship to their evening together. Everything felt less empty and prosaic than it usually did."