Happy Sunday! I recently wrote about the Classics Book Challenge that I’ve started. Well 2 books down–10 to go! Today’s short Sunday sermon comes from this book – I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. This scene has Cassandra (the main seventeen-year-old character and narrator) talking to her sewing mannequin (who surprisingly often gives back profound and unexpected advice). Cassandra has named the mannequin Miss Blossom. I thought it was quite a good section with good advice — especially for a Sunday sermon!
I sat on the bedroom window-seat, staring woodenly at Miss Blossom. Suddenly her voice, in my head: “You go to that picnic, dearie.”
I heard myself ask her why.
“Because little Miss Blinkeyes is right – it would take you out of yourself. And doing things for others gives you a lovely glow.”
“So does port,” I said cynically.
“That’s no way to talk, not at your age,” said Miss Blossom. “Though I must say you’d have made a cat laugh, walking about in your drawers with that cherry brandy. Fancy you having a taste for drink!”
“Well, I can’t drown my sorrows in it often,” I told her, “it’s too expensive. Good works are cheaper.”
“So’s religion,” said Miss Blossom. “And some say that’s best of all. You could get it all right if you went on trying, you know — you being so fond of poetry.”
Now it is very odd, but I have often told myself things through Miss Blossom that I didn’t know I knew. When she said that about my “getting” religion, I instantly realized that she was right — and it came as such a surprise to me that I thought “Heavens, have I been converted?” I soon decided that it wasn’t quite so drastic as that; all that had come to me, really, was — well, the feasibility of conversion. I suddenly knew that religion, God — something beyond everyday life — was there to be found, provided one is really willing. And I saw that though what I felt in the church was only imagination, it was a step on the way; because imagination itself can be a kind of willingness — a pretence that things are real, due to one’s longing for them. It struck me that this was somehow tied up with what the Vicar said about religion being an extension of art — and then I had a glimpse of how religion really can cure you of sorrow; somehow make use of it, turn it to beauty, just as art can make sad things beautiful.
I found myself saying: “Sacrifice is the secret — you have to sacrifice things for art and it’s the same with religion; and then the sacrifice turns out to be a gain.” Then I got confused and I couldn’t hold on to what I meant — until Miss Blossom remarked: “”Nonsense, duckie — it’s perfectly simple. You lose yourself in something beyond yourself and it’s a lovely rest.”
I saw that, all right. Then I thought: “But that’s how Miss Marcy cured her sorrow, too — only she lost herself in other people instead of in religion.” Which way of life was best — hers or the Vicar’s? I decided that he loves God and merely like the villagers, whereas she loves the villagers and merely likes God — and then I suddenly wondered if I could combine both ways, love God and my neighbour equally. Was I really willing to?
…Would I be sincere or just pretending? Even if it began as pretence, surely it would grow real before very long? Perhaps it was real already — for the very thought of it rolled the weight of misery of my heart, drove it so far away that, though I saw it still, I no longer felt it.
Have a great day! Do or read something NEW!
Just for future reference, here’s a couple of other quotes from the book (just so I have them all in one place, ya know?)
p. 38 “Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression”
P. 39 “…it really makes one feel rather Godlike to turn things a different colour.”
p. 296 “Oh, it’s hopeless to make friends with people who never talk about themselves.”