When I asked about this week’s date, my prince said all I’d need were pajamas–regular pajamas. He wished aloud that we had a “safe” stuffed animal for me (polyester gives me a rash & most stuffed animals don’t list fiber content). Hmm…need to work on that…
Anyway, once supper was over, he brought our beanbag up from the basement, covered it with a light blue vellux blanket, had me get into something comfortable & presented me with my “throne” for the evening. He then made a batch of popcorn, got out our well-worn copy of Mountains of Spices, by Hannah Hurnard (not Catholic, but has a lot of “Catholic ideas”, especially redemptive suffering) and proceeded to read to me.
There was a story behind this choice. Mountains of Spices is the little-known sequel to the better-known Hind’s Feet on High Places, and my favorite of the two (“Hind’s Feet” is good, but you really have to turn off your “sappiness” meter to appreciate it!). Many years ago, I came across a record (yes, that many years ago!) that was a “soundtrack” to “Hind’s Feet.” There are quite a number of songs in the book (largely adapted from the Song of Songs in the Scriptures), and someone had set them to music with full orchestration.
I enjoyed it very much, and even adapted one of the songs for use in our wedding. For our processional, my prince went down the left aisle of the church (it was a “church in the round”–we’ve since moved), I went down the right aisle & we alternated singing stanzas, singing the last one together as we met at the front.
The voice of my beloved,
Through all my heart it thrills
He leaps upon the mountains
And skips upon the hills
For like a roe or young hart
So swift and strong is he
He looketh through my windows
And beckoneth to me
“Rise up, my love, my fair one
And come away with me
Gone are the snows of winter
The rains no more we see
The flowers are appearing
And all the birds now sing
The turtledove is calling
Through all the land ’tis spring
The shoots are on the grapevine
The figs are on the trees
Arise my love, my fair one
And come away with me
Why is my dove still hiding?
When all things else rejoice
Oh, let me see thee, fair one
Oh, let me hear thy voice”
(Song of Songs 2:8-14)
Well, since record players have become scarce, I haven’t been able to listen to this music for quite some time. But something brought the album to mind a week or two ago. Maybe it was the fact that it’s the sort of music you could dance to in a grand ballroom & I’ve been dancing with my new silk veil lately for exercise (my prince gets vertigo too easily for dancing, more’s the pity). I’m not sure. At any rate, I wondered aloud if it’d ever been put on cd.
That was enough to send my prince on a quest. Within a day, he’d found said cd online here and bought a download of it. That was my 147-month anniversary gift on Monday! Yes, it is lovely for dancing with a silk veil :).
Anyway, my prince had initially thought that the story was on the cd & we could listen to it together for our date. But it’s just the music. Then he thought perhaps he could intersperse reading & the songs…but there are orchestral interludes & he wasn’t sure how to time those. Finally he remembered that I preferred the sequel anyway. Hence, the date night as it actually unfolded. We had the “Hind’s Feet” soundtrack on in the background. Even though it’s a different book, it’s close enough :).
The timing was good. I found myself identifying on both sides–with Mrs. Dismal Forebodings hunched in her dreary, smoky little cottage, oblivious to a glorious spring day (I’m afraid there’s still much of the fearing clan in me), and with the Shepherd’s friends who were trying to draw her into their joy (been there too…). I was struck by just how well Mrs. Valiant and Grace and Glory responded to Dismal’ rebuffs. They were so good at not taking anything personally, at directing their efforts towards the poor sufferer’s needs rather than her sourness. I can learn from that… And it’s always good to envision the Shepherd’s compassion and wisdom, rejoicing with His friends and helping them to acquire His Heart for the people He longed to reach in the Valley of Humiliation.