For the First Time, the Thought Brought No Delight {Book Club}

I hate coming to the end of a good book. I feel lonely and sad. But then I think of the book we’ll read next week and then I don’t feel so bad. Kind of like Maria from The Sound of Music! Next week we’ll hear from my friend Amy Sullivan about her new series of books for kids ages 4-6 AND we’ll have a  give away for two physical copies to be mailed anywhere in the world! I’m feeling better already. Also, Amy has created so many resources to go with each book — so if you’re a teacher, a mom, an aunt, someone who just loves kids, I’m excited!  Gutsy Girls: Strong Christian Women Who Impacted the World: Book One: Gladys Aylward (Volume 1) by Amy Sullivan  ($2.99 on Kindle) .

Also, I know it can be confusing that her name is Amy and my name is Amy. When I’ve had her on my blog, even my own mom got confused which Amy I was talking about. How about this, I won’t refer to myself in third person? Okay? I know we are up for the challenge!

Today we finish with Kit and The Witch of Blackbird PondFor those of you for whom this was a childhood favorite, I get it. I also get why it was a Newberry Medal winner. On one hand I’m so sorry I hadn’t read it before now, but on the other hand, I’m so delighted so many good books still exist to be discovered as an adult!

These are my notes from this section to jar my memory:

Chapter 16: Nat locked up. Kit visits, Hannah teaches Prudence to write. John enlists, Judith is sad.

Chapter 17: Judith/Mercy sick. Kit tends them. Hannah blamed and house burnt. Escaped with Nat and cat.

Chapter 18: Kit accused of being a witch; locked up. Uncle defends her.

Chapter 19: TRIAL! Nat brings Prudence, and she shows she can read. (Anyone else thinking of The Princess Bride when they read this chapter?)

Chapter 20: First snow. William the weasel comes back. Kit and William break up. Kit starts plans to return to Barbados. John alive! Loves Mercy.

Chapter 21: Two marriages planned. Kit continues with plans for Barbados. Nat returns for Kit.

///

I can’t wait to hear what stood out to you, but the part that really jumped out to me was the internal journey in Kit in chapters 20 and 21.

“I want to go back. . . Lying tense beside Judith, she made a resolve.” We can all relate to seeds sprouting in our hearts, knowing that a part of our life cannot be the same after that seed has started to grow.

“She had forgotten that summer would come again, that the green would spread over the frozen fields, that the earth would be turned up to the sun and the seed sown, and that the meadows would renew themselves.” Something is changing, either you are leaving, a teammate is leaving, an organization is changing, your child will go to college, or some other way you know this season is coming to an end—how we can forget and see anew, knowing it may be the last time. Those times are pregnant with meaning as hope and sorrow mingle together.

“Yet the spring air held a sadness too, sharper than all the loneliness of winter. The promos was not for her. I am going away, she thoughts, and for the first time the reminder brought no delight, only a deeper longing. She did not want to leave this place, after all. Suppose she should never walk in the meadows again?” Oh, we know this pang, don’t we?

I’m so glad we read this book. Thank you Elizabeth for the suggestion! What thoughts do you have in this final section (okay to return to earlier ones too). See you in the comments, my friends.

Amy

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23 Comments

  1. Beth Everett February 15, 2016

    I’ve loved having the opportunity to share some pictures of Barbados during this book club! I have three to share today – thanks for indulging me! 🙂

    The first is of a majestically palm-lined driveway that now leads to an Anglican Seminary, called Codrington College, formally a plantation estate. We took a Sunday afternoon drive there yesterday to feed the ducks in the pond. I thought of this place when I read “she walked in imagination up the wide drive to her grandfather’s house, and stepped up to the long shady veranda” (ch20)

    1. T February 17, 2016

      Yea for more photos from Beth!!!!!  🙂

    2. Amy Young February 18, 2016

      Thanks Beth! It’s so green. I can picutre Kit here too 🙂

  2. Beth Everett February 15, 2016

    #2 This is now called the Animal Flower Cave and is a popular tourist attraction on the northern most tip of the island. The coast is made of cliffs and the ocean is  treacherous. Visitors can only go down into the cave during low tide, and often not at all during certain parts of the year. This picture is taken from inside the cave looking out onto the Atlantic Ocean.

    I thought of it when I read this: “My grandfather took me to see a great cave. You and to go to it when the tide was very low, and when a wave dashed across the rocks it made a sort of curtain across the opening of the cave. But inside it was calm and still, and the water on the floor was as clear as glass.” (ch20)

    1. MaDonna February 16, 2016

      I did not join this book discussion, but this is one of those books that I remember really enjoying reading out loud to my students one year. Love this photo Beth…I want to come and visit!

    2. Amy Young February 18, 2016

      Beth, I love how you are tying pictures into parts of the book!

  3. Beth Everett February 15, 2016

    And finally #3 – when I read “… they came soundlessly into the palm-studded harbor, fragrant with the scent of blossoms, and happiness was like sunshine wrapping her round and pouring into her heart till it overflowed”, I wanted to get a picture of a calm beach, lined with palm trees, but could only manage this one – a bit less of a ‘harbor’, but with coconut trees none-the-less. A little beach for you today!

    Now all that’s left is for you to come visit for yourself! I’ll give you a personal island tour! 🙂

    1. Amy Young February 18, 2016

      YES!!! Let’s have in in person book club in Barbados!!!

  4. Emily Smith February 15, 2016

    I forgot how much I loved this book! (I’ll try to keep my comment shorter than the post itself ?)

    First, I highlighted the same quotes. I’ve been listening to the audiobook. I backed up multiple times at the section where she is standing in the meadow realizing she doesn’t want to leave. I have 7 weeks until I leave Japan permanently. My prayer throughout the year has been for it to be bittersweet. I still believe leaving is my only healthy option, but there is finally sorrow in the leaving.

    Also, I loved her conversation with William. “We are supposed to care for the poor, but you over do it.”  I’ve heard very similar words. I’ve been told my compassion is taken to an extreme. If I didn’t get my heart involved so much, it would be easier. Though it wasn’t the end of a potential marriage for me…it was the end of a season. That was the conversation where I knew I could not continue.

    And the end. She was given a third option. It wasn’t Connecticut OR Barbados. She found her life in between. A life where she would never be fully settled anywhere. One that would come with a new and unique set of challenges…but one that was her own. A life of belonging and acceptance and above all else one filled with love.

    1. T February 17, 2016

      Thanks for these comments, Emily.  I’m a “thinker” parenting a very, very compassionate 8yr old daughter.  I never want to tell her that she needs to not get her heart involved so much.  Your/her compassion is probably the most God-like thing He Himself has placed in you/her, and He has been tending that and growing it for His glory!

      1. Emily Smith February 17, 2016

        That is so wonderful that you can see that even now in your daughter.

        I had actually never thought of compassion as one of my strengths. I had admired it in others, but always felt I wasn’t very good at showing compassion. I’m not terribly emotional and for a long time I thought the two were connected.

        I am just beginning to realize the strength it takes to let your heart get involved. The importance of creating room for others to feel a range of emotions without being swept away by them.

        It may be easier for your daughter (and for you) if she gets her heart involved less, but easier isn’t always  better. It also takes a unique and special strength to not try to numb and kill of that compassion…if you can show your daughter that, then Wow!

        Maybe you also will learn from her, but I suspect you are already much more inclined to show compassion than you realize.  Compassion takes many forms and recognizing differences as God given strengths is one of them.

        Thank you for your encouraging words.

        1. T February 18, 2016

          I’m rereading this and storing it away!  Thanks for replying here!

          1. Amy Young February 18, 2016

            (Emily and T — I loved listening in on your interaction)

    2. Elizabeth February 19, 2016

      Emily — I love that “in-between” part of the story too!

  5. Susan February 15, 2016

    My favorite line was when John came home then “stumbled across the room, and went down on his knees with his head in Mercy’s lap.”  His experience in the war had broken him, brought him back a different person.  I see the spiritual metaphor here, after being on the field, I am tired, worn out, a different person than I was before I left, much more in need of Him and realizing how frail I really am….so knowing that I can lay my head in His lap of Mercy is a beautiful picture.

    1. Emily Smith February 17, 2016

      I have really nothing to say…except that I love this comment. That is such a beautiful picture. ?

    2. Amy Young February 18, 2016

      Susan, I loved that scene too . . . but I had never thought of it in the light you described. Wow. Now I want to go and read it again!

    3. Elizabeth February 19, 2016

      I love that too, Susan. “Lay my head in His lap of Mercy.”

  6. Elizabeth February 19, 2016

    Amy, first of all, thank you for valuing my opinion so much that you would lead the book club through this book.

    And secondly, the quote you titled this post after, oh how it aches, and oh how it rings true. They are the words I hear from people who have decided that, for whatever reason, they need to leave this place. Deciding to leave doesn’t make them feel better. Don’t you love fiction that is true? I’m reading through the Chronicles of Narnia again with my kids, and everywhere my eyes catch words that scream True! True! True! (Sorry for the tangent — but C.S. Lewis is worthy of any tangent, no? 🙂 )

    Something about how desolate that New England winter felt to Kit reminds me of the Jonathan and Melissa Helser video on the necessity of seasons that a guest writer here at VA shared a few weeks ago. Winter can feel so much like death . . . but it’s not.

    1. Michele Womble March 15, 2016

      Yes, C.S. Lewis is worthy of any tangent.

      I loved reading Narnia with my kids when they were younger.  It was so..TRUE…:-)

  7. Michele Womble March 15, 2016

    Ok, so I know that I’m REALLY REALLY late to this meeting of the book club – sorry!  But I did read the book way back when, and actually read the post and comments way back then, too, just didn’t get around to posting MY thoughts – although I had written them down elsewhere and it seems like, “how hard is it to just transfer my thoughts” but for some reason it was.

    Elizabeth, thanks for suggesting we read this book.  I loved it (I’ve read it a few times before, but I am a “re-reader” and enjoyed reading it again.)

    And Amy, thanks for taking Elizabeth up on the suggestion and including this book. 🙂

    Pretty much all the thoughts I had and lines I loved where already mentioned above (so I won’t mention them again) EXCEPT THIS ONE.

    “The haunting joy eluded her (that is, the dream of going home); the dream shores were dim and unreal.  Why had she closed her heart to the true meaning of the dream?  How long had she really known that the piercing happiness of that moment had come not from the sight of the harbor at all, but from the certainty that the one she loved stood beside her?…..IF I could go with (Him), she realized suddenly, it wouldn’t matter where we went….” 

    “Was it too late? He asked me to go, she reminded herself…But what did he mean?”

    She is talking about Nat, but…I read the lines with Jesus in there instead of Nat.

    Maybe part of the reason this part stands out to me so much is because I am in America at the moment, and “the dream is eluding me…” – In the early years, when I first went to Russia, I did dream of “home”, of going back, but when we did go back I realized then, like now, that the “dream” is eluding me – because I closed my heart to the true meaning of the dream?  Now after twenty years in Russia I’m in America for a time and dreaming of being in Russia, but…

    I should know by now.  I think if I go here or go there I will find the joy, or if I do this or do that the joy will be there.

    But it will ALWAYS elude me, unless I realize the true meaning of the dream, unless I realize that IF I can go with HIM, it doesn’t matter where we go…

    The piercing happiness of the moment comes from the certainty that the one I love stands beside me.”

    There.  And here.  And…everywhere.

    And it’s never too late.  And He is asking us to go…with Him.

    1. Elizabeth March 16, 2016

      I love that, Michele! “There. And here. And. . . everywhere.”

  8. Felicity Congdon March 27, 2017

    Hello friends, I’m more than a year late, but I enjoyed going back and reading all of your comments!

    I was reading along with you a year ago and since I had checked the book out on a library app It expired and I kept meaning to go back and finish it. Language school has kept me so busy and my brain too full to read much this past year, but now I’m on spring break and I finally did finish the book! I was so relived when Nat came to the courthouse with Prudence and so proud of Prudence for being so brave to read in front of everyone especially her evil mother! I love the thought that Kit has later when she is realizing she doesn’t want to leave New England “suppose she should never…see…the girl Prudence would grow to be?” I love this thought as this is one of the passions that God lit to call my husband and I into church planting. The idea of getting to walk with people for generations, seeing children of the church grow up into leaders.

    If anyone sees this…Emily, I am in Japan too. I am curious where you are now? I remember seeing you on the Velvet Ashes map when I first arrived in Tokyo 2 years ago. I love the book club and hope to be able to participate more regularly when I graduate language school in July!!

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