My reading has fallen almost to non-existence since we’ve been in Seattle. My quiet moments (few as they always seem) have been devoted to writing away at my little book or embroidering. The past three days, however, I went on a thrilling reading adventure. It much revitalized a heart in need of being swirled in the delicious whirlwind which only a good book can bring. This is the book: When Knighthood Was in Flower by Edwin Caskoden (pseudonym for Charles Major)

My friend Lanier put me onto it here, and I’ve learned to trust whatever books she recommends. If you want to read more about it, you should follow Lanier’s link. I call this type of writing high Victorian–full of (hard-to-believe but wonderfully refreshing) virtue and (over-the top but oh how it will make your heart swell) love. If you like Augusta Evans, I feel very safe recommending this one to you. If you tend towards the cynic…you might not like it so well.
This is my favorite quote from the book:

I do not mean that Mary was in love, but that she had met, and for the first time felt the touch, yes even the subtle, unconscious, dominating force so sweet to a woman, of the man she could love, and had known the rarest throb that pulses in that choicest of all God’s perfect handiwork–a woman’s heart–the throb that goes before–the John the Baptist, as it were, of coming love.

I love it partially because I know precisely what it means, having experienced it myself. When I first met Jeremiah I knew, I just knew, he was the one God had been protecting me for. I had never told a boy I loved him before Jeremiah, because I knew I was still waiting for something that had not been given to me yet. However, on a summer night in May, sitting on the tailgate of a white Dodge truck, with stars reflecting off the little pond we were pondering I heard the words, “I love you, and you don’t have to say anything back, but I do.” And finally, a heart who had been waiting for, what seemed like forever, could finally burst forth and answer back, “I love you, too.”
He may have said the words first, but his heart was not the John the Baptist of the rest of our dating relationship. There was actually one point when I worked up the nerve to tell him, “I know you’re the one, I’ve always known, and I’m just waiting for the time.” I was answered by silence. “Do you not feel the same way?” And his answer, “I can’t say that for sure.” Oh there were some dark days on our road! But don’t all good love stories suffer twists and turns and snags?
Before the days of iPods and iTunes–even before Napster!–Jeremiah used to call and leave songs on my voice mail. I would rush out to my car each day after school, to see what message he had left. The first song he left on my phone was John Denver’s “I’d Rather be A Cowboy.” When he started recording, the words were saying this:

We were just beginning it was such an easy way. Layin’ back up in the mountains makin’ songs for sunny days.
It was a perfect description of how this springtime beginning to our relationship felt, and if you could have seen me in my car as I listened to those words, you would have thought my face was going to break off if my smile grew any larger. However, if you know the song (you can listen here if you like) you know that it quickly makes a turn for the worse:
She got tired of pickin’ daisies, and cookin’ my meals for me. She can live the life she wants to, yeah, it’s alright with me. I think I’d rather be a cowboy. I think I’d rather ride the reigns. I think I’d rather be cowboy, than to lay me down and love the lady’s chains.

Now, as a man who loves music for music’s sake, I now know he was just taken up by the song and wanted to share it with me. As a woman who listens to music for poetry’s sake–searching for hidden meaning everywhere–I thought I was being broken up with over voicemail.
Anywho, we worked that one out, and that song has become one of our absolute favorites, partly because it expresses a deep desire that we’ve been fostering since those very first days together. The idea of wanting the freedom of fresh air and open spaces–
I’d rather live on the side of a mountain, than wander through canyons of concrete and steel. I’d rather laugh with the rain and sunshine, then lay down my sun down in some starry field…
And there have been moments, during all of this long medical training, when I’ve reminded him of those very words. When I’ve said, “I can’t do this any more. I just want you. Can’t we just go live in the woods somewhere. I’ll learn how to garden, I swear!”
But now, we’re almost through. Almost finished with the training, and we stand here still feeling a lot like those two kids who wanted nothing more than to disappear to a mountainside together,…but we also feel like two adults who have learned that we value and need community. We have signed a contract to move back to Dothan–I don’t think I’ve told y’all that yet. We are so, so very excited to move back home, but are feeling really torn about where God wants us to put down our roots when we get there. I’m flying home with the girls next week to look at houses. Pray for me friends! It’s such an exciting time in our lives, but pray for us if you will. That God will make it clear what His plan is because, ultimately–land or no land, community or countryside, we want desperately to be in His will.

16 Responses to “A Book and a Song”

  1. Matt, Carrie, Lucy and Molly Allen says:

    abby, our husbands share the same love for john denver, it seems. i have read posts with you referencing his songs before. when matt and i first started dating, he loved the song …"guess he'd rather be in colorado" and matt had just graduated and i still had a year left and i just knew he was going to move out to CO and live in the mountains while i was stuck in troy! ha..i just thought that was funny that i had that similar story.

  2. Anonymous says:

    How crazy! Reading this entry made me want to change my Pandora Station to "John Denver." And what song came on immediately? You guessed it.

  3. Gail says:

    OHHHHHHHH Abby!!!! I am sooooo thrilled with this news! Dothan is the best place in this OLE' world to raise your girls. Trust me…on this one! I have moved 8 times in one yr. And, I would do ANYTHING to head back to Dothan!!! You are going to LOVE being around family and those who really adore you and your sweet, sweet family! I am just so happy for you. Enjoy Seattle, and be ready to kiss her good-bye!!!! There is NO place like HOME!!!!! :O)

  4. Lydia says:

    So glad to hear you are coming back "home"…praying for guidance and peace on your decisions!

  5. Kat says:

    Love me some John Denver! Congrats on your upcoming move back home. I know you must be so excited to go back. Good luck with the house hunt.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Praying for you to know where God is leading you. I know as long as you seek his will you won't make the wrong decisions.

  7. BKaminski says:

    "As a woman who listens to music for poetry's sake–searching for hidden meaning everywhere–I thought I was being broken up with over voicemail."
    My favorite part of your post. I can totally picture that happening to me!

  8. Konie says:

    Abby…a sweet romantic story…you and Jeremiah:) I have lived your life through pictures this week, and just told Jessica that I THINK I saw Michael W. in a blue SILK shirt!!!Also saw a picture of you as a little girl and saw PACE, then looked at another and saw MARY APLIN!:)) Excited about seeing the REAL YOU and the girls next week!!!!! House hunting will be EXCITING!! and ALSO celebrating KEN's BIRTHDAY:)) "Take me home….country roads….to the place…..I belong" :))XOXO

  9. Amy says:

    Abby, I can so relate to this longing for wide open spaces. John and I want it too and we often battle this desire to live out with our belief that we are called to Go and make discples. And we haven't yet been able to mesh the two in our own hearts. We don't know how to live in community, make disciples and live in the woods away from the very people we want to invest in. Lucky for us (I guess) we don't have to make our decision in the coming months. But I will pray for your hearts because I so know this feeling.
    (OH and by the way, Brady broke his leg yesterday – I will email you details soon ) hope your trip is great!!!

  10. Alicia and Daniel says:

    I know that I barely know you and Jeremiah, but you have both inspired me. Everytime we had a chance to chat a little after you and Jeremiah got home from a date and the girls were in bed, I could just see the love radiating off of you two! I'm sure it's not perfect and it's crazy right now, but you still have love! I hope that Daniel and I have the type of relationship that you two have!

  11. Kellie says:

    I can't believe it's already time for ya'll to be leaving Seattle!!! It seems like you JUST GOT THERE (to me anyways 🙂 I'll say a prayer for you as you seek God's will to make this important decision. But I know that no matter where you live, God will use you and grow you and ultimately receive the glory as you follow Him!!!

  12. Lindsey says:

    praying with you guys.

  13. Kendall Boggs says:

    you are so much like your mom! I can just hear her in your words. Did you make the Wellington????? or maybe save it for V-Day (might be time to pull out that white shirt) ;);)

  14. Emily says:

    Love reading your blog. So excited you will be moving to Dothan!
    I am in Real Estate if you need any help! I will be praying for you

  15. emily says:

    Love reading your blog. So excited you will be moving to Dothan!
    I am in Real Estate if you need any help! I will be praying for you.

  16. Mert says:

    I hope that our paths will cross when we come to Dothan some time. Would love to see those two precious girls in person!

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