Friday, October 17, 2008
"They had many children, who grew up knowing the priceless beauty of such a life."
Given the economic crisis, the hotly contest presidential election, the prosecution of 2 wars at once that must now be won, and the uncertainty of the world in general I have responded the way those who lived during the Great Depression did- retreating into a fantasy world. The fantasy world of the Great Depression was comprised of musicals acted by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers but I have retreated to the fantasy world of children's literature.
Two new favorite books.
We checked out "Iron John" by Mariana Mayer and Winslow Pels. This is a beautiful book rich with Christian symbolism. The boy Hans, who is the hero exhibits self effacing humility, earnestness, honor and goodness. Of course he wins the Princess, Terre (her name denotes the Earth and she is the symbol of humanity while Hans is the salvific Christ figure. There are also parallels to David and Goliath which will be obvious. My favorite part of the book though, is when the Princess and the Prince, turned Gardener/Warrior/Knight marry. The description of family life sums up the goal of the Catholic family.
"Hans and Terre lived out their lives in the lush green woodland. There they built a handsome shelter from which every view of the wildwood was a picture beyond compare. As the years passed, they had many children, who grew up knowing the priceless beauty of such a life. And those fortunate enough to know the place where this good family dwelt could say with conviction that it was indeed a paradise on earth."
I couldn't help but notice how the good, the truly good things in life are valued by the family. They live in "a shelter", they have "many children" and they have achieved "paradise". They do not live in a castle, though they might have. They do not have 2 children, though they could have.
The second book we liked was "The Biggest Soap".
This is also a beautiful story of family life- sacrifice, unselfishness and service. The life described is simple and the days involve laundry, make believe, construction, storytelling and foundationally family.