I was going to share geography books and I will. However you will humor me, please, because I just finished another book that will be right up near the top of my list of books-I-pray-my-daughters-and-close-friends-read.
I just finished.
I had to save those last 20pages for alone time because it was pretty certain to be a big emotional event. It was. I locked myself in the guest bath until composed enough to reenter society. Whew.
The book? Oh yes. That would help. It was Mrs. Mike, a semi-biographical novel about a young Irish-American woman who leaves Boston for a Canadian outpost around 1900. It's a thrifted paperback copy we've had forever and it didn't give me so much as a hint as to how compelling it would end up being all those years it sat on my shelves. It read like a quick romance, initially, which meant you arrived at the gut-socking parts completely unprepared for the thinking and mourning and thinking some more that you would do.
To me, there are significant similarities to Strangers and Sojourners by Michael O'Brien. If you've read one and not the other I am telling you now you should. Pain, strength, and beauty are all illustrated in such a way that it makes you feel braver, more grateful, and less concerned with petty things. You realize, "When little things perspectiare so important, it's because there aren't any big ones."
Sometimes a novel can make you think more deeply about faith and family than a theology volume can. This was one of those for me. I pray the perspective embeds deeply in my heart.
While in my head I am still vicariously wandering through northern forests and gliding around crystal lakes tonight I'm pulling out pictures of one of the most idyllic places we passed through this summer. Part of Black Hills National Park. Breathtaking.