Thursday, July 13, 2006

The "Other Side" of the Story

This summer my pastor's wife is leading a book study through Stepping Heavenward, by Elizabeth Prentiss. We're meeting weekly to discuss the book, and I just sat down to read the chapters for tonight's meeting. If you haven't read Stepping Heavenward, may I highly recommend it? I first read it about 8 years ago, and I have since read it a number of additional times. It is written in the form of the journal of a woman, spanning her 16th birthday until her death, and it details her journey to godliness as she "steps heavenward." The author is also the writer of the hymn More Love to Thee, O Christ.

I loved this passage in today's reading, when Katy (the writer of the journal) recounts the differing views of herself and her sister-in-law (Martha), regarding the arrival of Katy's third child. As a bit of background, Katy has very delicate health and the family, while not starving, also is not rich:

I celebrated my little Una's third birthday by presenting her with a new brother. Both the children welcome him with delight that was of itself compensation enough for all it cost me to get up such a celebration. Martha takes a most prosaic view of this proceeding, in which she detects malice prepense on my part. She says I shall now have one mouth the more to fill and two feet the more to shoe, more disturbed nights, more laborious days, and less leisure or visiting, reading, music, and drawing.

Well! This is one side of the story, to be sure, but I look at the other. Here is a sweet, fragrant mouth to kiss; here are two more feet to make music with their pattering about my nursery. Here is a soul to train for God; and the body in which it dwells is worthy all it will cost, since it is the abode of a kingly tenant. I may see less of friends, but I have gained one dearer than them all, to whom, while I minister in Christ's name, I make a willing sacrifice of what little leisure for my own recreation my other dearlings had left me. Yes, my precious baby, you are welcome to your mother's heart, welcome to her time, her strength, her health, her tenderest cares, to her lifelong prayers! Oh, how rich I am, how truly, how wondrously blest!

7 comments:

Becky Miller said...

Hey, Susan, just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for Best Variety at the Blogs of Beauty awards!

Mrs.B. said...

I love Stepping Heavenward!

Mrs.B. said...

Susan, I just finished reading your post at Lydia's about college. All I can say is 'WOW!!' I thought it was very well written and I just loved how well you handled all of the comments.

Sherrin said...

Susan, this is one of my favourite quotes in the book :). I must read the book again sometime soon. I was given a copy when I was in the USA.

Susan said...

Thank you, Becky. I am honored. And thank you, Mrs. B, for the compliments regarding the college post. It has certainly been an interesting discussion! Sherrin, when were you last in the US, and any chance you'll make it here again? :)

Jessica said...

Oh, yes...I love Stepping Heavenward and the quote you posted is one of my favorite ones in the book! I think I remember seeing it on some baby announcement or something and liked it then, and this last time I read Stepping Heavenward, I came across it and realized it was from there...they're very true words.

Amy said...

What a lovely quote! I'll have to add this book to my wish list :)