Friday, December 28, 2007

Bombadil and Smith

Well, I'm going to try explaining what I hinted at in my last post. Essentially, Tom Bombadil struck me just the other day as being rather like a wildly jolly and unpredictable man named Innocent Smith in G. K. Chesterton's book Manalive! Here are some similarities they share:
  • big man, but able to move quickly and nimbly
  • laughs at danger and evil
  • mysterious and enigmatic
  • wears brightly-colored clothes
  • possesses quite a hat
  • would go to the ends of the earth for his wife (to court her again or fetch water lilies)
  • seems to arrive at the right time to help in a way that wasn't expected
If anyone else has read both and would like to add to the comparison or mention contrasts, be my guest! If you haven't, I recommend both books highly. Manalive! really is a fun book, especially worth reading with someone. And I'm in the middle of The Fellowship of the Ring at the moment, which is as always wonderful in more ways than I can say. But I'll save that for another post. :-)

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Chestertonian Christmas Poem

G. K. Chesterton was a great Christian writer who not only influenced the Inklings, but might even be a match for C. S. Lewis's wit and Tolkien's humor. I know I've mentioned him before and I shall again, perhaps very soon. (I have a theory about one of his characters getting into LotR, but I'll save that for later.) I present to you now, for your delight and wonder, a poem he wrote that is fitting for this special night:

The House of Christmas

There fared a mother driven forth

Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.

The crazy stable close at hand,

With shaking timber and shifting sand,

Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand

Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,

And strangers under the sun,

And they lay their heads in a foreign land

Whenever the day is done.

Here we have battle and blazing eyes,

And chance and honor and high surprise,

But our homes are under miraculous skies

Where the yule tale was begun.

A Child in a foul stable,

Where the beasts feed and foam;

Only where He was homeless

Are you and I at home;

We have hands that fashion and heads that know,

But our hearts we lost - how long ago!

In a place no chart nor ship can show

Under the sky's dome.

This world is wild as an old wife's tale,

And strange the plain things are,

The earth is enough and the air is enough

For our wonder and our war;

But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings

And our peace is put in impossible things

Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings

Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening

Home shall all men come,

To an older place than Eden

And a taller town than Rome.

To the end of the way of the wandering star,

To the things that cannot be and that are,

To the place where God was homeless

And all men are at home.

For those who read my blog and haven't talked to me recently (or ever) in real life, yes, I did graduate. Hurrah, and thanks be to God! I'll do more regular catching up on my doings soon.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The glory of glorifying the Glorious One

"Though this be madness, yet there is method in't."
~Polonius, from Hamlet~

This is my last week of regular classes. Next week is finals, and finally a week from tomorrow I shall graduate with my English degree. It has been wild, but it's already exciting to get to see small glimpses of the God's mighty plan behind and under and through it all. To Him be all the glory, for my grades, sanity, and so so much more!

I did not finish my NaNoWriMo novel. 15,000 out of 50,000 words was not bad for a first try, I think. I am definitely planning to try again next year. I refuse to be depressed and gloomy about my budding pages. The characters I met are alive and vibrant (to me, anyways), and the place they live is only frozen in time until I can get back there and finish writing their story. I intend to do it, and many more stories besides! Thanks to all who were encouraging me last month. The only reason I keep writing is because of you. And, of course, God. :-)

He's been working on me these last few days.

Monday was a horrid day. I woke up grumpy because I hadn't finished all my homework, so I rushed through an assignment, left a messy room, and was late to my first class. Then I found I had left my book at home and could only pretend to work on an in-class activity. By my next class, I felt ready to burst into tears, so I skipped it, which made me feel guilty on top of everything else.

It was not even any one thing that had me depressed. Maybe my pile of four papers, a creative project, and studying for a test for next week was a huge part of it. Maybe it was the ice on my windshield. Maybe it was the fact that I missed my morning cup of coffee. Anyway, I ended up with a headache, and after supper took a nap, which is usually the most effective medicine for me.

Around midnight I woke up. Headache was gone and replaced with such a comfortable cozy and relaxed feeling that I gave into it and went back to sleep. But I got up around 4:45 a.m., did my Bible reading, journaled, and finally cleaned my room while listening to the MP3 of Raising Dragons. The rest of the day (besides class time) I spent finding addresses, agonizing over proper forms of address, and carefully writing both on my graduation announcements.

After I finished late that night, it was such a satisfying feeling.

And then I watched the Prince Caspian trailer that was just released. :-) Not as thrilling and satisfying as watching the first one, and I might say something about my Puddleglum-ish complaints on it later. There are several weighty ones. But it was a small taste of what still might be a wonderful Narnia film, and I went to bed content.

That morning when I woke up I realized a small part of what God had done. He had used a headache, a messy room, and my act of writing announcements to remind me that I am not Him. I get too upset when I realize I can't do everything perfect, when I should remember that only He has that job covered. Papers too will pass away. Only His Word and people will endure (not that people are immortal on earth, but they will never cease to exist wherever they end up). What a relief to remember that! And it wasn't just remembering factually, in my brain: it was a huge perspective change.

I think doing the announcements was a huge part. I sometimes wonder if I am more encouraged when I send things to other people than they will be to get them. :) In this case it was just a plain announcement. But it made me think about other people, and my smallness, and my joy overflowed with the thought of God's hand.

God is bigger than the boogy man... and bigger than scary papers. All glory be to Him!