Anthologia: My Favourite Things

I am not always sitting here with a cup of tea, but I frequently am, and I am now: I am sitting here at my desk with a concoction of camomile and mint, and lots of other things that sound pretty, like orange leaves and hawthorn berries, and I am wrapped up in my blanket - not really because of my cold, but for the comfort of the thing. I am glad for the tea, warm down my throat, for the long shadow of the wearying weekend is still over me, and today has been long and I pushed myself perhaps ill-advisedly to be productive. So the tea and the blanket are very welcome just now.

Abigail just wrote a post about her favourite things. It was a short post, a sweet post, as to the point as Abigail can be, yet with plenty of eloquence, as is her nature, and it was a real treat to read because Abigail is a cool cat and does not always make herself easy to know - which is part of her charm - even for me, and I have known her all her life. She is cool and grown-up, calculating and logical, a no-nonsense kind of person at times (would you have guessed it?) so to get a peek at the dear things of her heart was like being invited into someone's own private garden. You can learn a thing or two about a person by observing the things they most love...

So what about me? What are my favourite things? I asked myself. We are always following the other, Abigail and I, and this time it was my turn to follow her. Some months ago I followed Megan's example and wrote a post about the things that make my life sparkle; but what about my favourite things? Just this morning I was asked in an email by Rachel if there was a quote from any book I had read (or perhaps a movie) which best described my personality, and as she is reading The Eagle of the Ninth presently and I am reading Blood Feud, and as Sutcliff is always at my elbow, I had a long and agonizing time trying to explain to Rachel that I didn't know, but that I could have said any of the things Cottia in The Eagle of the Ninth said, and at the same time I shared an understanding with both Marcus and Esca over the matter of the dagger pattern and the shield boss... And the problem, I think, is that my favourite things get so drawn into my own heart that they cease to be themselves, but are myself; and I do not always know they are my favourite things, my particular things, until something arises to bring us apart. Then I know they are mine to me because of the awful wrench I feel in my chest. But I will do my best to translate the unspoken language of myself which even I do not wholly understand, and tell you about my favourite things.

they are

a girl from Oklahoma // my copies of my books (Beowulf, The Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch, Simon, The Great Divorce, The Worm Ouroboros...) // the stuffed cat I was given when I was nine and in the hospital for surgery // my betrothal and engagement and wedding rings // my pilot razor point pens // Saturday evenings // the sting of the wind on a high open hillside // November // Kipling's poems (The Land, The Roman Centurion's Song, Dane-Geld, Norman and Saxon...) // my two cats Minnow and Aquila // my family // my amber necklace // letters // my writing and my reading // surf-sound of the wind in autumn trees // my cherry-wood notebook // the primrose-colour of the sunset // the preaching of the Word // sun on my skin // freckles // my husband, who understands my unspoken language better than even I do

These are my favourite things, which is to say these are my things: which, in some ways is obvious (as with my family) and in other ways I find it harder to explain (like the sunset and the wind and a whole month that is usually stormy). Some things are childish, some things are loyalty, and some things speak the same language I do and conjure the awful viking-longing in me to go after them, or before them, or on the wave of them, beyond the rim of the world altogether.

Sarah, take me by my arm
Tomorrow we are Canaan-bound
Where westward sails the golden sun
And Hebron's hills are amber-crowned

12 ripostes:

  1. Actually, I so enjoyed reading Abigail's favourite things because it felt like we were allowed a small peak into 'her private garden', as I DID guess "She is cool and grown-up, calculating and logical, a no-nonsense kind of person at times..." :), and I think that's really something you don't find in a lot of young people, and really lovely! I love your 'favourite' things list as well... they're all so sweet. You mentioned your betrothal ring, does that mean you didn't date before you got married?

    God bless,
    ~Joy @ joy-live4jesus.blogspot.com

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  2. You made a good translation, I think, Jenny. I don't know that I could name my favourite things because they're so slippery and elusive and they don't make individual sense, but yours have all come together to form a stunning glimpse of your soul.

    And it's beautiful.

    <3

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  3. Ah, well, that's quite the can of worms you opened up there, Joy. Not that I mind the can of worms myself, but the more I truck about the more I find the topics of "dating" and "marriage" and "love" and all that rub people's fur quite the wrong way, and they never give you the chance to have your piece said through to the end. I know I have a very firm quixotic streak, but I'm also a bit of a cynic, and I begin to wonder if it is really worth my while to go into the topic at all. (This is of course the wrong place to go into all this, but there doesn't seem to be any other place to be had.) I may refer you to a post I wrote some time ago on the subject of love, with the added comment that love, far from being something that just happens to people (as books and movies would have us believe) is more often something we must learn and make ourselves.

    As for the subject of dating, my situation was unique in that my husband and I have been best of friends since we were babies. The purpose of dating (I am foolish enough to assume) is to get to know the nature and heart of the person you have attached yourself to rather better - goodness knows this process of learning lasts a lifetime. So, I am not very well acquainted with dating, but under that definition at least I have no objection to it.

    What a very deep can of worms this seems to be.

    Well, Megan, I was certain that you, at least, would understand what I was trying to say, because our languages are so very alike. If you can bring yourself to pick out some of your favourite things, you know, I should like to see them.

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  4. Hmm, this is inspiring a similar blog post right at this very moment! This was so fun to read, and to get a glimpse of another person. Personally, I ADORE the name of your cats, and it's definitely a Sutcliff thing. ;) Now I want to go read her books all over again!

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  5. Thanks Jenny,

    I had a feeling I'd opened a can of worms too =D, and was kind of regretting that I opened it out here, just it being only the second time I've commented on your blog. Glad you didn't mind though! I think I asked this because I am always encouraged with hearing stories of couples where you can readily see God's hand as the Matchmaker :). I read your post, and it was really good, thanks for pointing it out to me! I very much agree with your thoughts on the subject of love, being something we musts learn and choose to do, and isn't only something depicted in novels as something that just "happens" and you fall for it :p. I think we agree quite mutually about the subject :). Thanks for answering my can of worms, Jenny!

    God bless,
    ~Joy

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  6. I'm glad you brought up the can of worms, Joy, because this subject has always intrigued me too (and triggered hours of study)! My mother once told me that love is an attitude and an action, not a feeling, and so it is very much a conscious choice and not a victimized "falling in love" kind of thing. Not that there can't be something magnetic about a special someone... Not that I would know either, 'cause my Matchmaker hasn't made it the right time yet! Jenny, I'll be reading your love post as soon as possible.

    I totally agree with "the sting of the wind." I like it best on a clear winter night under the stars, with Orion blazing in the dark. The preaching of the Word--yes! Especially when it's hard-hitting and hurts while healing. As for freckles, every person I've met who possesses them doesn't like them. I only have the teensiest sprinkle, but I adore them!

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  7. It was a bit of a long weekend, wasn't it? But I was glad to have a chance to indulge in a few of my favorite things, namely: visiting my family (and church family), hanging out with the munchkins (who get bigger and smarter and sillier every time I see them), playing ridiculous games, and, of course, Georgia Tech baseball.

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  8. I loved this, Jenny. I love the potpourri of large and small things that make up your favorite things. Now I want to go make a list of my own. :) It sounds like a profitable experience. :)

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  9. YaashaMoriah, I'm only 16 so I wouldn't know much at all, but I've been so blessed in the fact of seeing my parents' relationship as a wonderful example of true love, one that I pray to have in my own life if the Lord sees fit to grant me one day :). I'm sure love has feelings and emotions, but I think that, put in it's proper place, it is the icing to the cake, and not the actual substance of love. I think love is of giving of one's self, as you said "an action" and as I mentioned above is as much a verb as it is a noun. Does that make sense? Jenny's post is really well-written and hits the nail wonderfully =D.

    Just a side thing, often dating goes right to the icing, before, if ever, the substance (of true love, and marital commitment), and not necessarily with a mutual commitment on both sides for the future. As Jenny said, "What a very deep can of worms this seems to be" :).

    God bless,
    ~Joy @ joy-live4jesus.blogspot.com

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  10. Joy, my parents have also been my example of love in action. I feel immeasurably blessed; not many people, even if their parents are together, see the kind of persevering love that I have seen in both of them. It's my aim to make such an excellent marriage when it's my turn; and note I said "make," because I know love takes constant other-centeredness, and that's natural to no one. (Jenny, great post on love--I finally read it and greatly appreciate it!) I agree 100% with both Joy's and Jenny's summary of love. As for dating--I think you (Joy) and I probably have very similar views on the subject. Personally, only his commitment to a future life with me will induce me to give a man the right to my exclusive attention and affection. The icing must follow the substance. Some of my friends do/have done it differently, but I intend to be more cautious.

    By the way, I'm only 23 and I don't know much at all either. I think this is one of those veins in God's soul-earth that takes a lifetime to mine.

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  11. I agree, YaashaMoriah! It is such a blessing from the Lord to have parents who have such faithful love to one another over the years, through thick and thin. Yes, it does take an effort and self-sacrifice to "make" such a marriage, and only the Lord can give us such grace!

    That's my commitment too, by God's grace =D. Well, this was really a profitable and enjoyable discussion. God bless!

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  12. Jennifer, and everyone in this safe, beautiful space: May Jesus keep you in His perfect love. Mind Him, and keep your eyes on your Shepherd -- the cliffs are high and the rocks are sharp. But, He has never lost one...

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