June 1, 2015

"I intend to astonish you all."
--Bathsheba Everdene, Far From the Madding Crowd

So I wish I had something to pull out of my magician's hat right now that would, truly, astonish you all, but sad to say, I really don't.  I heard this lovely line Saturday night when my husband and I attended the new film adaptation of Far From the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy.  I blush to admit I had never read this classic, and found myself captivated by the gorgeous Devon countryside, stunning cinematography, and how absolutely teeny tiny Carey Mulligan's, who plays the spirited and independent Bathsheba, waist was.  And by teeny tiny I mean it was maybe fifteen inches!!  I felt much better when I did a little investigative research and read it was due to a particularly tight corset that required two assistants to lace her up each day.  Thank you for sharing that tidbit with us non-fifteen inch women, Carey!

I spent some time this weekend thinking about this bold statement that Bathsheba, the heroine of Hardy's novel, asserts to her assembled farm hands as she promises to keep her inherited farm running profitably.  Earlier this weekend I attended a lovely memorial service with my daughter.  Friends and family spoke eloquently, truthfully and with hearts brimming with love and eyes brimming with tears about a wife, mother, sister, friend gone much to soon.

Listening to all the loving words of her heartbroken family, I couldn't help but wonder what would be said about me--do I measure up to the standards I try to hold myself to?   And then a day later, listening to Bathsheba utter that supremely confident acclamation again I wondered, what on earth can I do that would astonish anyone?

Fortunately, I've finally figured it out...it's not my job to astonish anyone.  I hope I occasionally do something that might make someone sit up and take notice but at the end of the day, it should be the other way around, right?  We are here to learn about love and kindness and share those lessons as far as we are able.  And as we work our way through our lessons of love and forbearance, the question becomes what are we astonished by, instead of how astonishing we can become.  

And today's answer is that I am always astonished by all the beauty we can find in the world.  The beauty in a backyard garden, just steps away from the door.  

The beauty in a son's laughter when he shares a joke with you.  The beauty in your mother's voice when you hear her inflection change with joy when she realizes you are the caller.  The beauty in a small child's innocent laughter, and the whisper of your daughter when she says "I love you, Mom".  The beauty in your husband's eyes when he turns, smiles and says "it was a good weekend."  Why yes, it was indeed. 

May today be filled with wonder and astonishment!  And happy June!!

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