Wednesday, October 28, 2020

There is no escape

The final days before an election tend to increasingly dominate all of the public attention. Relatively few people are still involved in shaping the message at large (not counting everyone on social media), and everyone else plans to vote, contact a few friends and family, and await the results.

For some, that can feel like waiting out a hurricane. Assuming one still has electricity, its best and easiest to tune out the storm, about which one can only seek the Lord in prayer, and turn attention to other things. One of the best ways to do this is with a book, preferably one about another time.

I have several categories of books on my Kindle (and Kindle app), and I've been doing a lot in the life, personal improvement, how-to category, and after a while that kind of reading starts to feel the same. Another category I have is classics. In this I include fiction.

One author of whose work I've collected several items is Mark Twain. One name that has come to mind recently is Joan of Arc. I only know a couple anecdotes from her story and not much else. One of Twain's works is Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc. Selection made.

One of the reasons we call these books classics is because they are enduring. They endure because they are about things that are true and experiences encountered by every generation. If one set out to think on things other than our current excitement, that is only possible up the point the circumstances may have varied from today, but the universal challenges of human nature remain. There is no escape.

Personal Recollections begins speaking of the young woman of character standing for principle at a time when “the keeping of a promise was expected of no one.” “The contrast between her and her century is the contrast between day and night.” Chapter 1 feels even more timely recounting plagues in the city of Paris.

In chapter 2, on “The Fairy Tree of Domremy,” Mark Twain's humor begins to shine through with his endearingly precious telling of the interaction between the young girl and the priest over “sackcloth and ashes.” It takes a special talent capture what it's like to see things through the eyes of a child.

I look forward to reading more.

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