This book is a beautiful and deeply true gift to the world. It is a book to be savored, read over time, with pen in hand and fingertips at the ready — ready to bend down corners of page after page after page . . .
Christie Purifoy invites us into her life, one year in her life, to be exact. Moving through the seasons from autumn through summer, from late pregnancy to early toddlerhood, from the wilderness of Florida to the welcoming joys of a very old house on a hilltop in Pennsylvania, she lets us see life through her eyes.
And what beauty-seeking eyes she has! Her reflections on the life she lives are deep, rich, honest and gloriously articulate and thoughtful. Maplehurst is an old, brick farmhouse, now surrounded by a brand-new neighborhood of tract homes, a place far from family, yet a place that becomes home in every way you can think of.
Along the way, she reflects on things like post-partum depression, sleep deprivation, gardening (oh my, gardening!!!), the liturgical year, life, death, joy, sorrow. She reflects on this life we live, all of us, but she does it in a way too few of us take the time to — and with a skill very few of us enjoy.
I’ve pulled out a few favorite passages, but believe me when I tell you this — there are too many to count:
“Our lives are stories built of small moments.”
“Yet it is only when we are fenced in that we begin to see the true shape of ourselves and of our lives. What it is we long for. What it is we love. Hemmed in on every side, we begin to understand, we are not enough. Until every limitation and every need becomes a prayer. And every prayer, a light revealing the treasure that is always, already ours.”
“When something breaks down or does not go as planned, we are given a glimpse of our great need. Like a vast emptiness. We pray for solutions, crying out for immediate help, but God desires to give us more. To give something real. Something we can see with our eyes and feel on our skin. Like a baby born to us. But first he fills our emptiness with his silence.”
“When Jesus broke the bread and served the wine, he said, ‘Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). Do this. He didn’t say ‘think this,’ or ‘keep retrieving this idea from the back of your brain.’ He didn’t even say, ‘feel this.’ No. He said, ‘Do this.’ Jesus knew the day of his coming was a long one. Thousands of years after his death, we are still living in it. “
Believe me when I tell you this -- there is lots more where these came from. Stunning prose. Truly, truly.