As I explained in my post earlier this week, Pat is a character who feels intense emotions and experiences great emotional ties to things. Specifically, she cares about her home - Silver Bush. I explained in that post that I can sympathize and identified with Pat quite a bit in this as I very much love our family home. It is just four walls which contain our family and yet it isn't. It has character and a growing history and I just love living here!
In Mistress Pat the theme of Pat's love for Silver Bush continues at a rather reckless pace. (Yet still, I understand it!) Pat has grown up and the family is hopeful that she will marry and begin a new life for herself with a home and children of her own. Pat, on the other hand, maintains that there is no man on earth who she could ever love as much as Silver Bush: it is her life, her love, her all. I think that's a bit over dramatic (and theologically incorrect!) and I doubt that there are few that would disagree with my assessment. Beaus come and go in Pat's life but none can hold a candle to her love of home.
Pat's love for her home is tested in this book and really, aside from the fact that Montgomery is largely predictable in her story telling pattern, I found this book to be a bit surprising in the direction it headed. I'll be cautious about spoilers as a result. Now, it may be that I found this book slightly less predictable than most because I packed this title (the second in the Pat series!) and took it to California with me over Christmas instead of the first by accident! (Hellllo, Carrie.) I was, um, a bit surprised when I opened the covers of the book and discovered Pat grown up already. (Ah sigh. I should pay closer attention when I snatch books off shelves!) Also, it's very helpful to have such a bad memory when it comes to re-reading books after you've first read them. I had suspicions as to how the book would end, but I was surprised all over again along the way. (Because my memory is that pathetic. Why do you think I persist with the blog!?)
Back to the story and my thoughts as relate to it . . . a lot of you will recall that almost one year ago I overcooked a chicken in our home. The chicken wasn't really noticed until 2 a.m. when the house was filled with white smoke and a horrible, horrible (HORRIBLE!) odor. As a result of
Being moved out of our home was interesting. We love it (and we love being back in it! Thank you, Lord, for working out the details of that!) but we realized that home doesn't define who we are. Mostly, we realized in a very real way that things were not as important as people and our relationships with them. We tried to learn how to be happy in our temporary housing. Some days we were successful at being joyful in the situation and other days (much) less so. It changed how we felt about "stuff" - we decided we never wanted to own as much as we did before the smoke ever again. It's hard to keep such resolutions, but we try to hold each other to it. It is better to give away and live simply than it is to clutch hold of things. It is easier to move if you have less to carry. Later on last year we were able to sit under some teaching which further strengthened our resolve to own less and be willing to move away from our home if God ever called us to it.
I wouldn't have learned any of these lessons (and I'm not exactly done learning them) if home and "stuff" hadn't been removed forcibly. And so I can sympathize with Pat still because it wasn't until change came that I had no control of did I realize that I wasn't actually in control. I also realized - yet again! - that change is good and God uses it for His purposes and for His glory.
It's better for us to hold on to stuff loosely rather than clutch it so tightly that we wound ourselves when God 'must wrest it quickly from our grasp.' Living simply - so as to move as God directs and to be able to give more generously to bless others - is a hard thing to learn. It's a hard thing to want to do when it comes down to it. Going without or submitting to a sovereign plan doesn't exactly come natural to we humans. Yet it's what we're called to do. Happily, no less.
I know that God has a plan for us and it is a good one (Jeremiah 29:11) - whether in these four walls or outside of them. We're grateful every day that we are here in the home that we love, make no mistake about it. But it's not the most important thing and it should never be. Pat was wrong in her attitude. We were wrong in ours. Sometimes it takes something earth shattering to get our attention focused on things of worth. Those things are ultimately good. As I see Pat concluding well, I hope we will also! From beginning to end I love Pat and all of her emotions but just as she can't stay the same, neither can I.
I'm willing to keep changing. Although I do confess that I don't say that without feeling a little fear and trepidation!
Also, the winners of Akin to Anne are #1 - Amy @ Hope is the Word and #12 - Tarissa!