Thursday, November 21, 2013
a book found on the path...
It is very quiet in this early morning hour.The only sound is the heat coming on sporadically.The squirrels are chasing each other over the last of the corn my husband put out.It is still, so few leaves are falling .My husband is giving communion to Catholics at the hospital.I love this peace and solitude.This is the space where thoughts come together for one who loves to write.
When I was far away from the church and living in California in the 70s,I came across a book called "The Quantity of a Hazelnut" and thought it's title quite odd.I have no doubt at all that this book of essays was gently laid in my path as I wandered further and further from God.As I read it, I remember distinctly what I thought:"This is an intelligent woman who is also a believer."My heart stirred ever so slightly and my slow journey back home began.I still have that book ,the cover damaged from my constant retreating back to its wisdom.
The title refers to a vision given to Julian of Norwich, a mystic, centuries ago.In her vision she sees a small, tiny thing in the palm of her hand and it is no bigger than a hazelnut.It seems so small that it will fall and disappear but she is reassured with this answer:"This is all that is made and it lasts and ever shall last because God loves it ,and so hath all-thing its being through the love of God."
The author,Fae Malania, was an assistant to the editor of Mademoiselle and I regret that I never found a way to tell her how her book was used to reorient my soul towards the things that last.
The curious thing is that this all started when I bought a small book of meditations for a friend's birthday.Some of "The Quantity...." essays were in it and that's how I came to find the writer and her book.The friend and I lost touch, as people do, but in talking to her recently she brought up the small book and said she still keeps it on the table by her bed.
I recently bought a new copy of this book for a gift and came across a quote that speaks to me with such force.It is a quote from Fae:"Leo(her husband)always said that I was most alive when I was writing".Yes.