One of our Favorites:
I keep it with the Christmas decorations and bring it out every winter for the girls to enjoy:
I found your Rosary
in the children’s room
Lying there between
A.A. Milne and Madeline.
Yesterday it got mixed in the laundry
It scraped the washer’s insides
As I slid it up to kiss and slip it
In my apron’s pocket.
At night you ask
Where’s . . .
And I reach out my hand to you,
Extending her mantel,
knit brows smooth a bit
and we begin again,
rose after rose forming a crown
studded with chants:
(You know it better than me. )
and then our litany
We finish at the cross.
Tired from contemplation,
you set down the beads.
-Mrs. Karl T. Cooper, Jr.
You’ve often heard books praised as life-changing. And every book we read must inevitably change our lives, for good or ill. We can’t measure the impact of a book and books that outwardly have no effect may be the ones that cause internal seismic shifts, unfelt.
However there is a handful of books I’ve read in the past few years that had a very definite effect on my daily life.
The Lost Traveller by Antonia White. Reading Antonia White’s Clara quartet was a vindicating experience: just to see emotional and situational territory I’d felt alone in expressed so precisely in printed words. But one passage from The Lost Traveller gave me insight into my daughter, rather than consolation for myself. Clara never tells her mother how much she longed for siblings, especially brothers. I’d never been able to quite kill the hope that I might have another child or more children, a sibling for my daughter. Reading this passage, I was able to fully recognize my own maternal desire, for another child, yes, but also for the blessing a sibling could still be for my firstborn. This passage silenced the inner voice that was always droning “too late.”
The Far Cry by Emma Smith. It was a quote from dialogue on the very last pages of this book that dried up my discouragement toward the beginning of this year. I won’t quote it because it gets its full impact from everything that comes before. But I was able to accept a failure that threatened to cripple me with remorse and instead use that dead body as a stepping stone into a new pattern of life. What was this new pattern? I will say that another book that helped me into it was The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd.
A truly life-changing read from several years ago was Our Lady of Kibeho by Immaculee Ilibagiza. This book was one of the catalysts of a new founding at a point of profound personal crisis. It helped me make, with painstaking care, a new synthesis of life directed by the Virgin Mary. The Seven Sorrows rosary was key in that reconstruction. And this book made me *want* to pray it.