When I finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows I wondered how I had missed it until the very end. In many ways the Literary Society function like a healthy ministry team.
Watching the adults come around and work together in caring for, raising, and loving Kit until Elizabeth returned brought to mind the best of what a team can do. The support, team work, common experiences, shared secrets (the good kind), and sense of enjoyment for one another is the ideal. Now, I know they had their quirks and I know it wasn’t without bumps and problems. But what do you think of this idea that to a certain extent, they functioned like a ministry team?
I love watching Juliet as her identity shifts as she grows fonder and fonder of Kit and is learning how to care for a child. “Dear Sidney, Kit would love a bagpipe. I would not.” Ha! As I’ve read this section of the book, I couldn’t help but compare to the daughters in The Poisonwood Bible. The four girls seemed to have no one advocating for them. As much as Orleanna tried to protect them, in the end, even she abandoned each.
Yet here, we have a child who is known, loved, and protected. When Juliet was willing to live wherever was best for Kit, I wanted to cheer. “Her home is here, and mine can be. Writers can write on Guernsey–look at Victor Hugo. The only thing I’d truly miss about London are Sidney and Susan, the nearness to Scotland, new plays, and Harrods Food Hall.”
I think this can be one of the most heart wrenching parts of living overseas for parents and children of aging parents. For parents who have young kids and for whatever reason where they are living may not be the best fit for the child, they have many hard choices; knowing that each scenario, family, and situation are different. When do you “go home” and when do you trust God to provide what your child needs?
On the other end of the life spectrum, when is it the time to go home and help with aging parents or other relatives? Again, this doesn’t come with a simple, one-size-fits-all, answer. It is beautiful and sad when a decision is made in light of what is best for someone else. The laying down and walking away, is not for the faint of heart, is it?!
Also in this section was the process Elizabeth was going through to pull together an unifying idea for her next book. Isn’t it the best feeling ever when a piece falls into place with a big project? And of course it was Elizabeth. If Anatole was the Christ figure in The Poisonwood Bible, Elizabeth is it for this book.
Near the end, I loved Isola’s detective notes and how she got things wrong with Dawsey and Remy. This line about Dawsey was endearing: “It suddenly struck me that Dawsey is a lonesome person. I think it may be that he has always been lonely, but he didn’t mind before, and now he minds.” I wonder how many lonely people are around us? What would it take for us to be detectives like Isola and notice?
Once again, meaty themes for us to talk about. Ministry teams, changing / evolving identities, getting unstuck from a project, and loneliness. Where would you like to start? Can’t wait to chat in the comments!
P.S. Thanks to Bayta who shared this article with me related to The Poisonwood Bible: Belfast family return to Congo to honour friends murdered in 1964 Simba rebellion.
Reading plan: We’ll be jumping right in to Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle. Small warning on a tiny bit of language. Which is to be expected working with gang members. This is in my top 5 books of all times and makes me want to be a better person.
September 1: Preface – Chapter 2
September 8: Chapter 3 and 4
September 15: Chapters 5-7
September 22: Chapters 8-9
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