finding poetry

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I’ve been reading L. M. Montgomery’s Anne series this summer - for the first time ever, if you can believe it. I read Anne of Green Gables in my teens and as for so many others, Anne became a beloved fictional friend; but for whatever reason, I never followed the series to its conclusion until now, at least a dozen years later.

Happily, I find Anne to be just as much a kindred spirit as ever - and this time I recognize that her creator, Lucy Maud Montgomery, is even more so. She writes with such an old, meandering style, so unlike the fast-paced and action-packed demands of the year 2019. It’s slow and pure and lovely, such a joyous reflection of the best things in life, and it has given me a necessary glimpse of my own soul in the way that only classic fiction can.

I know we can’t live there, in the delightful unreality of stories, where the mundane is skipped over to save words and only the prettiest or bleakest moments make the page - but sometimes I rather wonder if we give up too easily in the pursuit of at least a hint of that beauty in “real life.” We submit to the prosaic existence, marred with occasional blots of grief or tears, and don’t even acknowledge that there is poetry to be found in any of it.

I don’t want to live my life that way.

I want to see and acknowledge everything beautiful, to think on the things that are true and noble and admirable, to notice all the little gifts of life and color that God splashes into my days. I have experienced the darkness in recent months and years, but I think I’m ready to emerge now, and to try to find the poetry again. No doubt some of it will be lamentation - especially as I watch the dark clouds gathering westward - but if I can’t find some beauty even in these storms, how will I weather them at all? I don’t want to look for the cliche silver linings, but rather feel the coursing life in my veins when the cold rain swallows me, or the thrill of God’s presence when the thunder roars, or the exhaustion of having loved my people faithfully and wholly through the hardest hours.

And then, “for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings” (Malachi 4:2a).

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Hallie Liening

Hallie grew up on a small farm in rural eastern Washington. At 18, she moved across the country to go to Bible school, and then married the Boy Next Door at 20. Now 22, she is a graduate of Great Commission Bible Institute with a Certificate in Biblical Studies and resides in Olympia with her husband and her two cats. She survives the claustrophobia of living near the city by making frequent trips back home to visit her family and her horse, writing sentimental blog posts about the countryside, and by filling her house with photographs of Mt. Adams sunsets.