Monday, May 13, 2013

A Motherhood of a Different Kind (and a bit about books)

My husband planted this meadow for me a few years ago for Mother's Day.

Yesterday my six year old son made a comment about Mother's Day that I want to remember. He said, 
"Mother's Day is like a birthday all moms share."  

That's true. I love sharing my special day with all mothers -- both biological mothers and those who have a "motherhood of a different kind" like the woman whom C.S. Lewis described in The Great Divorce:

Only partly do I remember the unbearable beauty of her face. "Is it?" I whispered to my guide.
"Not at all," said he, "It's someone ye'll never have heard of. Her name on earth was Sarah Smith and she lived at Golders Green."
"She seems to be . . . well, a person of particular importance?"
"Aye. She is one of the great ones. Ye have heard that fame in this country and fame on Earth are two quite different things." . . .
"And who are all these young men and women on each side?"
"They are her sons and daughters."
"She must have had a very large family, Sir."
"Every young man or boy that met her became her son -- even if it was only the boy that brought the meat to her back door. Every girl that met her was her daughter."
"Isn't that a bit hard on their own parents?"
"No. There are those that steal other people's children. But her motherhood was of a different kind. Those on whom it fell went back to their natural parents loving them more. Few men looked on her without becoming, in a certain fashion, her lovers. But it was the kind of love that made them not less true, but truer, to their own wives . . . It is like when you throw a stone into a pool and the concentric waves spread out further and further. Who knows where it will end? . . . But already there is joy enough in the little finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things of the universe into life.

It's that lovely and inspiring? We need spiritual mothers in this aching fear-filled world -- mothers to nurture, to calm, to visualize achievement for us, and to love us unconditionally! Such mothers truly are "the great ones."

I mentioned the other day that I finished Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. What I didn't tell you is that I did a lot of traveling on foot while listened to an audio version. It seems like for each strange place Gulliver traveled to, I now have a real place to associate with it -- a river bank, a wooded path, a road, a meadow, a farm.

I'm starting Oliver Twist today. I'm really looking forward to this one, so I hope it's not a disappointment. I've never read a single piece of Charles Dickens' work. I feel like Mr. Dickens is an acquaintance but not yet a friend. I've seen a few Masterpiece Theatre movies based on his books -- Bleak House, Little Dorrit, Great Expectations, and A Christmas Carol. And I saw a version of Oliver Twist years ago. 

Some of what I know about Mr. Dickens I learned while studying Harriet Beecher Stowe. She sent him a copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin. He read her novel and responded with praise for her "generous feeling", yet he went on to gently criticized her for seeking to "prove too much."

I once stayed in an American hotel that Charles Dickens stayed in. The proprietors tell an amusing story about the historic visit. Maybe I'll tell you about it in my next post.

Until next time then. :)


  1. Adriana, I just love that quote from The Great Divorce, especially this: "there is joy enough in the little finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things of the universe into life." Isn't that an amazing idea: that joy gives life?

    Might join you with Oliver. I think I read it back in university -- having just finished AK I feel I need another big fat novel to chew on.

    1. I'm glad you loved the quote. It's meant something to me for a long time. Yes, joy is an amazing gift with great power!

      And I would SO love it if you could join me for Oliver! :)

    2. I found my copy. Why is the print so much smaller than when I was in university, though? May have to hit the library for the "LP" version ....

  2. I have a love affair that keeps resurfacing with Charles Dickens.

    That being said, even though I enjoy it, "Oliver Twist" is not my favorite of his novels. I hope that if you do not fall in love with him, you attempt another one, like "Great Expectations" or "The Tale of Two Cities." I find GE to be wittier and the characters in both GE and ToTC are more engaging to me.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Dickens, jo. I'll certainly keep this in mind!

  3. Aside from Christmas Carol, I had never read any other Dickens; so Oliver Twist intimidated me. Imagine that!

    While I have heard that OT is not one of his better ones, I enjoyed it immensely b/c it opened a whole new world for me. It was tragic, but with a happy ending. And after all of the dark novels I've been reading lately, I sure would appreciate an OT ending any day.

    I do hope you enjoy it, too!

    1. No, I cannot imagine you being intimidated by ANY novel under the sun, Ruth! :D

      Looking forward to that happy ending too . . .

    2. No, seriously! I was intimidated by Dickens. But I came to appreciate his writing, AND now when I read A Christmas Carol every Christmas, it's a completely different experience for me than before OT.

    3. That's good to know, because last Christmas I tried to read an abridged version of A Christmas Carol as part of our Advent story time. It was kind of a flop -- we only made it through a couple chapters. :( Maybe this year we'll try again.

  4. Thanks for sharing that lovely quote! I read The Great Divorce for a Bible & Literature class in high school (right after I became a Christian!), and this makes me think I should reread it!

    I'm enjoying OT so far -- I was happy to see how quickly I adjusted to the flowery, wordy style. Sometimes it takes me longer to get into a book! Happy reading!! :)

    1. You know, Sandy, I don't think I've ever read anything by C.S. Lewis that I didn't think was absolutely amazing!

      Glad you are enjoying OT! :)

  5. It's such a pleasure to read your blog again. We've had some "technical difficulties" here, so my internet time is random and limited. It's been delightful to sit down to your writing and photos this morning as I've sipped my "morning brew". I feel as though we've had a little visit over a cup of coffee. Have a lovely day, my friend!

    1. Christine, I'm always sad when I revisit an old post and realize (often a year later!) that I missed a comment! So sorry. Thank you for always being a source of joy and encouragement! Happy Mother's Day, friend. ♥


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