I’ve never met Father Tim or Cynthia, but they feel like some of my best friends.
If you aren’t yet familiar with the honesty, simple joys, and probing into real humanity that is the Mitford years, you now have the first entry on your summer reading list! Super easy reading, but well written enough to entice this picky bookie.
Following the life of an average, middle aged Episcopal priest (and the woman who eventually becomes his wife), the Mitford books invite readers to everyday occurrence in a small, southern town.
I think some read Mitford for the humorous townspeople … or maybe the comforting nostalgia of small-town living.
I love Mitford because Father Time understands living daily under the grace of God. His character is so very far from perfect. Well educated, deeply caring, loved by everyone in his parish… yet refreshingly human, as he muddles his way through a hurried existence.
Loves Wordsworth and good food, but still hasn’t mastered the art of saying ‘no.’ 😉
Yet God’s promise to faithfully, daily, prosper the work of his hands for God’s glory is never lost on Tim. Therein lies the comfort of Mitford…
From the end of book one, as Father Tim embarks on a long-overdue trip to his native Ireland:
He opened his briefcase and pulled out a folder with a legal pad and pen, and began to make notes about a sermon topic that had occurred to him only yesterday. There. That felt better. Next, he’d make a list of the things to write home about, like how had the Rose Festival done? He’d forgotten to ask. And would someone make sure the new bathtub at the Porter place had a rail to hold on to? And when Cynthia heard from her agent about Uncle Billy’s ink drawings, would she let him know at once? And had he put the premium increase notice on the Mortlake tapestry in his desk drawer, or given it to Ron for the next vestry meeting? He was surprised at the list he could make if he just put his mind to it.
He happened to look out the window.
They were flying over lush, rolling countryside, with his own blue mountains to the right. He thought it might be the most beautiful thing he had seen in a long time.
There was a perfect farm with acres of green crops laid out in neat parcels, and a tractor moving along the road. There was a lake that mirrored the clouds, and the blue sky, and the shadow of the little plane as it passed overhead.
Away towards the mountains there was a ribbon of water flung out on the land, glittering in the sunlight, and beyond the river, and beyond the river, a small white church with a steeple catching the brilliance of the sun.
He closed the folder in his lap.
“Go in new life,” came unbidden to his mind.
He felt as if he were emerging from a long, narrow hallway, from a cocoon perhaps. He felt a weight lifting off his shoulders as the little plane lifted its gleaming wings over the fields.
Go in new life with Christ, he said silently, wondering at the strangely familiar thought.
Go, and be as the butterfly.