Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – Susan’s Newsletter Dec. 2007

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December 13, 2007 Newsletter
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Life “is a play we are playing all the time…play in earnest…”

Good morning!  What a beautiful morning to write my note to you – with all the snow on our back porch – beautiful!  The only thing missing in the scene is dense forest, wildlife, and a fireplace.  We’ll leave that to my imagination!

This week I got a note from a friend that was writing from Cairo, Egypt.  She had just spent the day at the Library of Alexandria, and yet had taken with her on her trip the classic Little Women.  The note I received encouraged me to read the first chapter.  I don’t believe I’ve ever actually sat and read this book cover to cover, so began last week and was immediately thrown into the world of four young women at home with their mother, as their father was away at war.  In the first chapter they are discussing the book Pilgrim’s Progress (now I’m going to have to order that one & try to read through it!) The girls are discussing that they have grown and now no longer enjoy acting out the book as when they were young girls.  Their mom (Marmee) answers with the comparison on life as a spiritual journey.  She issues a challenge to her daughters —

“We are never too old for this, my dears, because it is a play we are playing all the time in one way or another.  Our burdens are here, our road is before us, and the longing for goodness and happiness is the guide that leads us through many troubles and mistakes to the peace which is a true Celestial City.  Now my little pilgrims, suppose you begin again, not in play but in earnest……………”

Isn’t that analogy so easy to comprehend?  …”begin again – in earnest” – (definition of earnest: a serious and intent mental state, zealous, intent on a pursuit).  This challenge is not a light challenge to her daughters.  The challenge takes discipline, intensity, serious desire.  Our play will only be seen in it’s entirety within our own selves.  Will we take the challenge to diligently pursue the peace which comes from a life of “goodness” – will we continue to practice over and over again when “troubles and mistakes” enter the scene?  We are daily learning how to “act” – but only through diligent practice (see our latin phrase for this week below) will we retain what we’ve learned and have our performance in the play end as we desire – regardless of circumstances.  End with an inner peace knowing that we gave each act our best – with “a seriousness and intensity” in our pursuit of peace?

I was encouraged by another person this week that gave me the thought of her mentor, “Instead of concentrating heavily on the 10 commandments, I desire to concentrate on playing out the Fruits of the Spirit.” Let these be our desire for our play…  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faith, meekness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).  Practice, practice, practice – diligence, zealousness, intent on the mental state.  I’m glad so many of you have entered different scenes in my play.  I hope that you can have a chance to read, a chance for some stillness this season.  Turn off your TV’s, pick up books that have made their mark in timelessness of thoughts, and pursue a life of giving your mind something to think about each day that will carry you through your acts.  Have fun this season – surround yourself with what you love!  Thank you so much for shopping in our store.  We love being here & your support means more than you’ll ever know!  Go take on your day!!!!!!!  Susan

Latin phrase for this week:
Difficile est tenere quae acceperis nisi exerceas
 – It is difficult to retain what you may have learned unless you should practice it.  (Pliny the Younger).

Work cited:
Alcott, Louisa M.  Little Women.  Ed.  Elaine Showalter.  New York: Penguin Classics, 1990.

Book Description:

ISBN #0199538115

This classic story of the March family women and their lives in New England during the Civil War has remained enduringly popular since its publication in 1868. Poor, argumentative, loving, and optimistic, the March sisters struggle to supplement their family’s meager income and realize their own dreams. This highly autobiographical novel shows us women who are strong-minded and independent in their determination to control their own destiny. The introduction to this edition provides a fascinating history of the Alcotts, and a biographical history of Louisa Alcott’s own struggles as a writer.
About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.