The other day I looked up a book in my public library's online catalog--The Joy of the Snow by Elizabeth Goudge. It's her autobiography, and frankly I didn't expect the library would have it, but I thought I should check before I bought a copy on Amazon.com the minute Lent was over.
Much to my surprise, the library had a copy. But what was downright shocking is the fact someone had it checked out!
Who is this person who finds Elizabeth Goudge as compelling as I do? Is it the same person who requested The Scent of Water when I was halfway through with it, forcing me to track down a copy to buy? Are there just two of us scrapping after Goudge's books, or is there an entire posse?
If only the library had a way to let you contact the people who have been reading the books you've been reading--or want to read--especially if they're books that you assume no one else is reading or has ever heard of (heck, I'd never heard of EG until Jody mentioned her earlier this year over at Gumbo Lily).
I would love know who my fellow Goudgians are--I imagine them as elderly Episcopalian women, much like my own mother, who have downy soft cheeks and smell of Chanel No. 5. But maybe they're like me, middle-aged women who wandered back into church in mid-life and swoon over novels that are a heady mix of C.S. Lewis and Rosemary Pilcher. Or they might be anglophile teenagers who've already worked their ways through Jane Austen and E.M. Forster. Whoever they are, I want to know them!
I'm not sure how this library program would work. Maybe when you checked out your books--and nowadays, we check them out on the library's computers, no need to have contact with an actual human being--you could put an X in a box that said you were willing to let your email address be released to anyone who had also checked out any of the same books in the last six months.
I know, I know, it's probably unfeasible, and you'd probably get emails from creepy people who had also just happened to have checked out Your Money or Your Life or Yoga for Dummies instead of Karl Barth's Apologetics or The Collected Poems of W.H. Auden.
But it's killing me to know there's someone out there who's reading The Joy of the Snow and I have no idea who. I want to know!
We went to a beautiful Easter service on Sunday. We attend a university chapel, which means we get to hear from an ever-changing roster of hot shot preachers--N.T. Wright, Barbara Brown Taylor, Walter Brueggemann, Shane Claiborne, just to name a few who've come through in the last year--as well as our own beloved Dean of the Chapel, who is from England and awfully cute for a balding, middle-aged man.
This was our first Easter at the chapel, and it was grand--and really, really crowded. We decided afterwards that perhaps next year we'll try the 9 a.m. service instead of the 11 a.m. My mother, ever-practical, suggested we just go to the vigil the night before. We are a family who can do a midnight service, no problem. Or stay up all night and go to the sunrise service bleary-eyed and cranky.
As the temperatures outside rose to the high 80s, the temperatures inside were quite steamy as well. The chapel--"chapel" is a misnomer; it's a Gothic cathedral--holds 1,800 people, and we had that and then some. The typical 11 a.m. service hosts a mix of students and people from around the community, but Sunday's service was student-heavy, and most of them were dressed for a big cocktail party. It was fun watching the Man--who gallantly gave his seat to an elderly woman--having to avert his eyes through the entire service. A serious amount of naked flesh, I'm just sayin'.
And yet, it was lovely to see everyone, nice to see the kids, the old folks, the families, all of us nearly prostrate with heat stroke, most of us coughing and sniffing with spring allergies and colds. There were trumpets and bells and lots of loud singing. I let the boys take off their jackets and ties and unbutton their top buttons. I mean, everyone else was naked, why not them?
As we all drained from the church, it was amazing to see how many people automatically took out their iPhones to check to see if Jesus had texted them during the service. Touching, really.
I have good news about our friend David, who I wrote about again in my last post. His doctors opted for a serious round of antibiotics, which did the trick. He's home, done with chemo, and will go in next month for a bone marrow transplant. Thanks for your prayers, positive energy, white light, white heat. I promise you that David appreciates them.