Did anyone see Peggy’s death coming? I know we didn’t get to experience the birth of her third baby with her as we did the first two, but honestly I wasn’t expecting the book to turn in that direction. I am not sure I’ve ever read a story where we walked with someone in their passing from their perspective. Wow!
There was something so beautiful about Peggy’s last moments. The words whispered between husband and wife, mother and daughter, those last instructions and expressions of love and hope for the future. The people she cared about most were there, the ones who didn’t abandon her in the tough times, friends that stuck close when others walked away.
“All of them,” Peggy said, “serving quietly and steadfastly, loving me and the children.”
After Owen’s book was published telling the details of his survival in chapter five, many people shunned him and his family. Peggy bore the brunt of this shame, wondering if it was worth it. After a painful trip to the store, after also confirming she was expecting her second child, she said, “The house is warm and filled with pleasant aromas, and my little one is completely content. Why am I so downcast? Alone. I feel all alone.”
But in her last moments she wasn’t alone.
Many of us have felt that same ache of loneliness and isolation, and we have uttered those same words. Why am I so downcast? These scenes stirred up a desire in my heart to thank the Father for the people who have stuck with me, the ones who check in and care deeply for me in sweet and practical ways. I also want to pay attention to the people I need to stick close to. Who needs to know they aren’t alone? What was stirred up in your heart from these scenes and section?
The last chapter of this section switches from Peggy’s voice to her daughter’s, Phebe Ann or Annie as her mother called her. At this point she would have been four or five, trying to understand her mother’s death and changing family dynamics.
What did you think of this this perspective change?
One of the things I want to talk about at the end of the book is Owen’s career choices and his decision to continue going out on a ship. At the end of chapter eight, after just getting re-married to Nancy, Owen departs again as a new captain.
I think we have more to learn of his story so I don’t want to jump to any conclusions about him yet. Part of me has a hard time grasping the why of his decisions. What drove him to keep facing danger, leaving his family behind? A sense of purpose or calling? A strong desire to provide?
I know these are decisions we make too (although with a different sense of purpose and calling). We sacrifice proximity to extended family and comfort and make tough decisions that might be risky. What do you think of Owen so far? Does his decision to continue in the whaling industry feel similar or different to some of the decisions we make as cross-cultural workers? I’d love to hear your in-process thoughts.
I think we need a hot cup of tea or coffee after this section and a deep breath before we keep going! I’d love to know what you are thinking so far! Join us in the comments to share your thoughts, questions and insights.
Even if you are just jumping in now, there’s still time to read along and chat with us about The Voice of Melody! Here’s the schedule for the rest of the book:
January 19th: Chapters 9-12
January 26th: Chapters 13-15 and Postlude
In February we will be reading Gladys Aylward: The Little Woman. Here’s a short summary of the book:
Gladys Aylward left her home in England to answer God’s call to take the message of the gospel to China. With the Sino-Japanese War waging around her, she struggled to bring the basics of life and the fullness of God to orphaned children. Time after time, God triumphed over impossible situations, and drew people to Himself. The Little Woman tells the story of one woman’s determination to serve God at any cost. With God all things are possible! (From Amazon)