In my devotions yesterday and this morning, I decided to once again pick up my copy of Spurgeon’s Mornings and Evenings. The readings were especially poignant and I am sharing excerps here in the hopes that these words can be as much of an encouragement to any of you who are reading this as they were to me.
Live near to Jesus, Christian, and it is matter of secondary importance whether thou livest on the mountain of honour or in the valley of humiliation. Living near to Jesus, thou art covered with the wings of God, and underneath thee are the everlasting arms. Be not content with an interview now and then, but seek always to retain His company, for only in His presence hast thou either comfort or safety. Jesus should not be unto us a friend who calls upon us now and then, but one with whom we walk evermore. Thou hast a difficult road before thee: see, O traveller to heaven, that thou go not without thy guide.
Let us recollect the frail tenure upon which we hold our temporal mercies. If we would remember that all the trees of earth are marked for the woodman’s axe, we should not be so ready to build our nests in them. We should love, but we should love with the love which expects death, and which reckons upon separations. Our dear relations are but loaned to us, and the hour when we must return them to the lender’s hand may be even at the door. The like is certainly true of our worldly goods. Do not riches take to themselves wings and fly away? Our health is equally precarious. Frail flowers of the field, we must not reckon upon blooming for ever. Beloved reader, set not your affections upon things of earth: but seek those things which are above, for here the moth devoureth, and the thief breaketh through, but there all joys are perpetual and eternal. The path of trouble is the way home. Lord, make this thought a pillow for many a weary head!
We were lost in a labyrinth; we wandered hither and thither, and when mercy came after us with the gospel, it did not find us at the first coming, it had to search for us and seek us out; for we as lost sheep were so desperately lost, and had wandered into such a strange country, that it did not seem possible that even the Good Shepherd should track our devious roamings. Glory be to unconquerable grace, we were sought out! No gloom could hide us, no filthiness could conceal us, we were found and brought home. Glory be to infinite love, God the Holy Spirit restored us!
I talk of you:
Why did you wish me milder? would you have me
False to my nature? Rather say I play
The man I am.
-Caius Martius Coriolanus
I have been waiting for the National Theatre Live broadcast of London’s Donmar Warehouse production of Coriolanus to have a screening that I could attend. When I finally found a venue close by (at the James Bridges Theatre,) I bought tickets right away and it was absolutely worth it.
Naturally, I read the play first and noticed how political the plot is and the wonderful metaphors and alliteration it contains. Afterward, hearing those lines spoken by such a talented cast was even better. I especially loved hearing Sicinius (or Sicinia) say, “As he began, and not unknit himself / The noble knot he made.” It’s not often phrases have such stunning craftsmanship as that. I also greatly appreciated the use of the dragon metaphor used to describe Coriolanus. Coriolanus uses it in the form of a simile to liken himself to a “lonely dragon” and Aufidius later remarks of him that he “fights dragon-like.” Once more the metaphor is used by Menenius who says that Coriolanus “is grown from man to dragon.” There were other metaphors used by Menenius and speeches made by Coriolanus and Volumnia that I thoroughly enjoyed, but I’ll curb myself and refrain from going through each and every one.
Now, about the Donmar production of Coriolanus; Mom, Connor and I went to see it together and it was such a phenomenal piece of theatre. Pure and raw and unbelievable talent from the entire cast and everyone involved. (Tom Hiddleston, Mark Gatiss, Deborah Findlay, and Hadley Fraser starred.) The minimalist set really allowed the language and characters to be in the forefront with no distractions and it was modern while still being true to the period in which it was originally written. (Now I am very much intrigued by Donmar Warehouse. It’s such a unique venue that’s very different from any other theatre I’ve seen and I’d love to see it person one day.) The sound and music choices were particularly powerful and poignant. I have great admiration for anyone who performs Shakespeare live and this cast pulled off a challenging script with astounding stage presence and conveying of emotional conciseness. The theme of pride and obstinance and how it can completely be the undoing of a person was powerful, but not superfluous. The entire production was utterly tragic and gripping and I was impressed. (Disclaimer: If you have a chance to see this broadcast keep in mind that, as one of Shakespeare’s tragedies, it’s dark and gory. Not recommended for children.)
All in all, this was an excellent study for me. Half a year ago, I had no idea that Shakespeare had even written a play titled Coriolanus and now I feel like I have much deeper an understanding of this fascinatingly political work.
More of your conversation would infect my brain.
And, sir, it is no little thing to make
Mine eyes to sweat compassion
-Caius Martius Coriolanus
…not literally, of course, more like figuratively. Although there are literal boxes and bags and piles of yarn in my room, in my closet, on my desk, under my desk, around my desk… you get the idea. In January I started working a couple of days a week at a local knitting store and my boss there gave my info to a local newborn photographer who needed someone to knit hats and blankets for her to use in her studio. And did I mention that I finally started my own etsy shop? Well, ever since then, I have been swimming in yarn and trying to keep up on all my commissions, sample projects for the store, custom orders from etsy, gifts for friends, and my own personal projects. Needless to say, I feel like I have been knitting constantly and have been making up for the several years I didn’t knit anything while I was in high school and college.
Maybe this is just a visual representation of other areas of my like too, though. Like of the graduation thank you notes I’m only just now getting around to finishing. Or maybe like the biblical counseling class homework that I’m trying to finish three weeks early. Or possibly like the house cleaning and organizing and meal planning that we’re doing to prepare for houseguests coming to stay in just less than two weeks.
God has been so good lately, to me and my family. I’ve been able to work at doing something I enjoy and I’m looking forward to seeing several good friends over the next few months. Which reminds me; I still need to purchase a plane ticket to Arizona. Anyway, we’ve finally set up our garden again, I’ve been doing an encouraging study on the book of Philippians with dear friends, and I get to listen to the audio recording of the London production of Shakespeare’s Othello every morning when I get up early to get some knitting done … Really; what more could I ask for during this beautiful season of life?
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.