Monday, July 28, 2008


I came home today, from a very long day at the church, and sat down with David to watch Episode Four of John Adams. He and I were both struck by how John addressed Abigail in his letters to her as "dear friend" -- this, during a separation of five long years. She was left at home, raising the children and keeping the farm going, while he was in Europe -- France and the Netherlands -- trying to help the American cause. David's remark was about the mutuality in their relationship shown by that term of endearment.

Both David and I saw ourselves, and each other, in John and Abigail Adams. We both laughed out loud at John's responses to various things, laughing at the recognition of their similarity to David's responses at times. Same with me. I apparently share some similar outlooks on life as Abigail.

When it was over, I wondered aloud whether Paul Giamatti bore any resemblance to the real John Adams. At that, my husband, the historian par excellence, pulled the David McCullough book, on which this HBO miniseries is based, from his shelf and we looked at several pictures of our second President. I think the resemblance is there.

I've posted recently about my new office (obtained when Young Man with Integrity moved out on his own), but David has a new office, too--the one we had both been sharing as a much too crowded office for both of us. David has turned that space into a "library." He must have 1,500 books in there. So when we finished perusing likenesses of Adams, I was given the tour of the "library" and a history lesson in some things my husband values. Ancient history, yes--a couple of books on Rome and the like, but it's mostly a collection of American history. You name it, he has it. Even a small book on the history of Miami (where David grew up), a publication that first awakened him to a sense of place in his life.

After our tour and conversation, we embraced and David called me "dear friend."

I came in here, to my own office, and began to sense a beautiful awareness of my deep contentment with life these days. Oh, I'm tired. I get cranky, even restless at times. But beneath all that...above all that...within all that busy-ness and the shallow day-to-day-ness of life, I am filled with gratitude.

I had two deliveries from the post office on my desk. One was a package of twelve cards by Jan Richardson...oh! they are so lovely. St. Catherine's labyrinth, on black with gold lettering.

The second package was from My John O'Donohue books have arrived: Anam Cara and To Bless this Space Between Us. I opened the latter, and was amazed to find the print in a beautiful blue. Each page is, and I know will be, sheer delight to read. Next I read the introduction to Anam Cara which begins:

It is strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone....The
uttering of the word reveals how each of us relentlessly creates. Everyone
is an artist. Each person brings sound out of silence and coaxes the invisible
to become visible.

And it just gets better. As I read the introduction, that sense of the utter mystery that is my life--indeed, is all of our lives--possessed me and I felt transported. Transported, somehow, above the mundane, to that place that is a threshold between heaven and earth.

The box also contained A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines by Janna Levin. One of the reviews on the back says that it's reminiscent of Alan Lightman's Einstein's Dreams, which I loved. I heard about this book from Speaking of Faith podcast which titled the interview with Levin: "Purpose, Meaning and Mathematics."

Just holding that book in my hands, I suddenly saw myself in Pensacola, on vacation!, luxuriating on the beach (or at least on the balcony of our condo!) with this book, and the O'Donohue books, and reflecting deeply about what is important in life, how precious life is, and how utter meaningful it can be.

Ah, may it be so....


mompriest said...

may it be so, indeed....

Jiff said...

What a great post! I loved reading every word and having this glimpse into your long day and lovely end to your evening...