Susan's Thursday morning note July 10, 2014 George Eliot's "Adam Bede" Spirituality in everyday life - not only in church service
Good morning! The beauty of each calm morning. The angel of dawn has again arrived and handed us the gift of a new dawn. Another beginning. Robins continuing their story. One exuberant cardinal joining the choir. Life. How I love the first moment of dawn hearing the first bird practicing his notes…not realizing he has an appreciative audience awakening to his notes. Letting him be my backdrop as I picture my gold in other rooms of my house still asleep.
This week I have begun to tackle Adam Bede by George Eliot (pen name of Mary Ann Evans), first published in 1859. In the opening chapter there is a discussion among carpenters about a revival taking place that evening in their town, with one of the carpenters pressuring the others to attend. Adam Bede, in response to the pressure of attending the service, gives the following argument for worshiping God in our daily lives, during our days & with our work in comparison with only worshiping in a religious setting. Following this paragraph are quotes by George Eliot, quotes that hopefully will take residence in our minds this week…keeping a perspective of what makes life beautiful.
“Nay, Seth, lad: I’m not for laughing at no man’s religion. Let ‘em follow their consciences, that’s all. Only I think it ‘ud be better if their consciences ‘ud let ‘em stay quiet i’ the church – there’s a deal to be learnt there. And there’s such a thing as being over-speritial; we must have something besides Gospel i’ this world. Look at the canals, an’ th’ aqueducs, an’ th’ coal-pit engines, and Arkwright’s mills there at Cromford; a man must learn summat beside Gospel to make them things, I reckon. But t’ hear some o’ them preachers, you’d think as a man must be doing nothing all’s life but shutting’s eyes and looking what’s a-going on inside him. I know a man must have the love o’ God in his soul, and the Bible’s God’s word. But what does the Bible say? Why, it says as God put his sperrit into the workman as built the tabernacle, to make him do all the carved work and things as wanted a nice hand. And this is my way o’ looking at it: there’s the sperrit o’ God in all things and all times – weekday as well as Sunday – and I’ the great works and inventions, and I’ the figuring and the mechanics. And God helps us with our headpieces and our hands as well as with our souls; and if a man does bits o’ jobs out o’ working hours – builds a oven for ‘s wife to save her form going to the bakehouse, or scrats at his big o’ garden and makes two potatoes grow instead o’ one, he’s doing more good and he’s just as near to God, as if he was running after some preacher and a-praying and a-groaning.”
“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”
“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”
“What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life–to strengthen each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?”
“It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are still alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger for them.”
“Pride helps us; and pride is not a bad thing when it only urges us to hide our own hurts—not to hurt others.”
“Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love.”
“There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music.”
“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.”
“She was no longer wrestling with the grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts.
“The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone. ”
“Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face.”
Thank you for letting me enter your Thursday again. Tonight we will have the chance to look back on our day and find words to put on on the stone epitaph in our minds of the moments we use today. Will we have moments worthy of inscription? Moments we were still. Still in our minds even if not outward? Will we notice details in nature? Will we notice the eyes of who we have the privilege of loving? Will we keep an eternal perspective? Thinking of our goals for who we want to be years from now and working towards those goals? Thinking of who we want to be when we die? What memories do we want to have? Will we take the time to make them? Have a beautiful end of the week. Thank you for bringing us your books, coming to our store for your gifts, and for letting me have this beautiful store. Susan
Latin for this week: adoratio – worship Deus et natua non faciunt frusta – God and nature do not work together in vain. Works Cited: Eliot, George. Adam Bede. New York. Dodd, Mead, & Co.1947