And the needle moves gracefully,
Back and forth,
If my heart was a compass,
You’d be north;
Risk it all
‘Cause I’ll catch you if you fall;
Wherever you go,
If my heart was a house,
You’d be home.
– Owl City
This is the chorus from the song “If My Heart Was a House.” There’s no official video for this song that I can find, but here’s a decent fan video from YouTube.
When I was falling in love with my husband, a strange thing I noticed was that (when he was nearby) I always seemed to know exactly where he was. Even at parties or big family events, I always just knew, like I could feel him out there somewhere. (It was probably my sub-conscious paying attention when he walked by, or something unromantic like that, but so what?) I love the compass metaphor in this song because it captures that feeling perfectly.
I also love the idea that my heart can be someone else’s home. Owl City uses such interesting language. Also, they love puns: “Then we’ll take a long walk through the corn field, and I’ll kiss you between the ears.” (from the song “The Bird and the Worm”)
I’ve been posting a lot of quotes lately about the benefits of stories and reading, about how they can teach us (even the fun, fictional stories) to see our real lives in a different light. That’s what my favorite section from “Date a Girl Who Reads” was about:
“Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.” (Read the whole thing here.)
Apparently, G.K. Chesterton agreed. Here are two thoughts of his on the same subject:
“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.”
“I wish we could sometimes love the characters in real life as we love the characters in romances. There are a great many human souls whom we should accept more kindly, and even appreciate more clearly, if we simply thought of them as people in a story.”
– G.K. Chesterton
I love this second one especially, because so many of my favorite fictional characters are deeply flawed people. I mean, how can I love fictional characters who are immature, or short-sighted, or have easy tempers, and then quickly get angry at people in my life who do one thoughtless thing?
Maybe next week I’ll make a list of my favorite fictional characters, their flaws, and why I like them. Hmm…
So here’s a question, are there any characters you love in a book or movie, but you couldn’t stand to hang around with them in real life? For example, Shawn Spencer from the tv show Psych. That man would drive me crazy, but he is hilarious to watch on tv.
“Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all of us love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour — unceasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.”
– Henri Nouwen
When I screw up, I find it comforting to remember that we are all “people who love poorly;” it isn’t just me. And when I’m the angry, offended one, it’s good to remember that I love poorly all the time.
Maybe this sounds cynical, but I don’t think you should be surprised when people in my life let you down. They are imperfect, and they will fail. This thing is, if someone really loves me, they will eventually realize/acknowledge that they hurt me, and they will regret it. Unfortunately, that can take a while. If I start to forgive them before they even ask for it, things can begin to heal right away.
I also keep coming back to that last phrase: “the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.” I assume so often that everyone has it together but me. Everyone is strong and in control but me. Everyone has more money and better hair. Honestly, I feel like this all the time, probably (in part) because it gives me a good excuse to think mostly about myself.
But it’s not like that. Everyone is weak. Everyone needs to be forgiven, and encouraged, and lifted up, and loved. God is taking care of me (usually through other people); it’s my job to take care of my neighbor.
This is different from what I usually post, in that it was written recently (probably this year), and as far as I know, it’s only ever been published online. If found in on a Tumblr blog. If you have more facts on it, let me know.
Apparently, it was written in response to another short essay called You Should Date an Illiterate Girl., which is either sarcastic or very bitter. (Warning: There’s quite a bit of bad language in that one.)
Date a Girl Who Reads
by Rosemarie Urquico
Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second-hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but, by God, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.
“To love someone is to learn the song that is in their heart, and to sing it to them when they have forgotten.” – Philip Larkin
I love this quote because it reminds me of some wonderful friends I have – women who are always there to listen and encourage me. This card would be a great way to say “thank you” to anyone in your life (friend, parent, etc.) who loves you like this. You can find it at my Etsy shop.
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov’d by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can in no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold I pray.
Then while we live, in love lets so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
– Anne Bradstreet
Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband! I love you very much.
One of the first things my husband and I bonded over was our shared love of C.S. Lewis. Here’s a favorite quote of ours from the last page of “The Horse and His Boy,” one of the Chronicles of Narnia. This quote reminds us of ourselves because we love to argue. Well, I enjoy debating when I’m in the mood, and he loves to argue for fun, but we make it work.
“Aravis also had many quarrels (and, I’m afraid even fights) with Cor, but they always made it up again: so that years later, when they were grown up they were so used to quarreling and making it up again that they got married so as to go on doing it more conveniently.”
– C.S. Lewis
I realize that this is a strange quote for today, but it will make him smile when he reads it, and that’s what matters.
So today, I’d like to thank him for loving me and taking good care of me. For letting me tell you everything I’m thinking or worrying about, even if it’s you that’s worrying me. For being patient and gracious with me when my emotions over-run my reason, and I get scared even though you have things in hand. For forgiving me when I nag you. And for telling me over and over again that I’m beautiful, especially when I don’t quite believe it. I love you.
And I like to thank all of the people who have loved and encouraged us and prayed for us over the last few years. A lot of things haven’t gone as planned, and we’ve had some hard times, but you were behind us, and God was with us, and we’ve stuck together. Thank you.
I have a head cold and am feeling fuzzy and stupid, so I’m going to post a quote I don’t really know what to do with. I first heard it in the Disney animated version of Robin Hood, a favorite movie of mine since childhood.
In the story, the Sheriff of Nottingham is holding an archery tournament, and the winning prize (a golden arrow) will be given out by Maid Marian, who in this version is Robin Hood’s childhood sweetheart. Robin wants to compete, naturally, but Little John points out that it’s probably a trap. Robin bows, and in a purposefully over-dramatic way (that implies he’s quoting or repeating a stock phrase), he says,
“Faint heart never won fair lady.”
That stuck me when I was 8, and I still love it. Does anyone know what he’s quoting or referencing? I highly recommend this movie, by the way. It tells a great story, and there’s some genuine drama, but it never takes itself too seriously. I’d say pretty much the same thing about my other favorite Robin Hood movie:The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn. Good stuff.