I wrote this Saturday evening.
I've felt a little embattled and unstable recently. Today I did two things that seem to have helped restore my balance: I sang with the choir at a funeral, and I finished The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.
The service this morning was in memory and thanksgiving of the life of Reid Nolte, a man who I didn't know at all (but wish I had, having heard and read what others had to say about him), so the effect had nothing to do with personal connection, and everything to do with the liturgy we sang, read, and heard. The hymns and some of the prayers especially pointed to the ultimate stability of our life in Christ. I was reminded that what we see is not all there is, that death – which looks so much like defeat – is really victory, that I am one of a great unity of all those who have ever followed Christ, and that the end of our struggle is already guaranteed. Someday, my sight will be clear and there will be rest and victory.
I have read The Blue Sword at least half-a-dozen times since discovering it in my teens. It is a companion book to The Hero and the Crown, which was written second but stands chronologically first. The Blue Sword tells the tale of Harry (Angharad) Crewe, a twice displaced woman. First – following the death of her parents – her brother relocates her to the military outpost where he is stationed, on the very border of the Homeland empire. Second, and inexplicably, she is kidnapped into the life of the Hillfolk on the other side of that border. At it's root, the story is one of a life snatched from it's expected trajectory and set inexorably on another course, pushed and pulled by an insistent Fate whose guiding mechanisms are persistent but not always clear. Harry eventually makes a sort of peace with the forces using her, her blood, and the Gifts it has given that she didn't ask for, but in the process she spends a lot of time dazed, confused, and resentful. Harry gives me hope because in the middle of her confusion, stubbornness and pride she keeps putting one foot in front of the other. She reminds me that it's all I can do, actually – make the next right choice.
The pattern is much bigger than my life, what I've been given is what I need, and the end is already assured. Today, that was enough.
What reminds you of the stable base to life?