Many people (ok, two) have asked me what the name of my blog Finding Balm in Gilead means.
I feel I should have written this post at the beginning of this great writing adventure in order to explain myself and my direction; but alas, I did not. I've just kept on pretending that everyone who finds my blog (and it's a very small number of people) will just automatically know what I mean by the title.
And no, I absolutely do not think that my blog IS the balm in Gilead. Quite far from it, to be sure.
So. Here's Reason # 1 for the blog name Finding Balm in Gilead......
Long ago, I read a series of books by Jan Karon that I refer to as the "Mitford" series, because of the title of her very first book, At Home in Mitford. My mom stumbled onto these gems first, and I can still remember hearing her laugh out loud in her bedroom at night while reading the latest book. I believe I had just graduated from college at the time, and I remember thinking, "What can be so funny about a book with a pastoralish town scene on the front?"
Turns out, a lot is funny in this book with a pastoralish town scene on the front.
At the time, I was into reading anything with John Grisham's name on the cover, or the latest Mary Higgin's Clark mystery. Suspense and thriller were at the top of my list, although now, I can't stand to read or watch anything remotely scary.....one of the casualities of becoming a mother, I suppose.
But my mom's belly laughter was so contagious at the time - a time when our family was knee-deep in the muck and mire of my parents' marital issues - that I finally conceded to her pleas for me to read these books - if not for anything more than a slight chuckle and a smile.
Seriously, I thought these books were going to be beyond my scope of interest....something that I would read when I was an OLDER woman, but not as modern young thing of 23.
But I have not regretted reading these books one bit, I tell you. In fact, I've read several of them twice.
They are delightful. Hilarious. Witty. Full of the idiosyncrasies of life.
And because I can't say it any better, here's the synopsis taken straight from Barnes and Noble.com:
"In At Home in Mitford, Father Tim finds himself running on empty. Even after twelve years of shepherding his flock, he finds that Emma, his secretary, persists in treating him like a ten-year-old. Barnabas, a huge black dog, adopts him, and a hostile mountain boy, Dooley, is thrust into his care. To add to his confusion, a growing friendship with Cynthia Coppersmith, his new neighbor, stirs emotions he hasn't felt in years."
That, in a nutshell, is why I couldn't put these books down....they were all about the normal, everyday lives of a community of people as seen through the eyes of the narrator - Father Tim.
When you think about it, everyday life is rather hilarious, people.
Thus, these books are one of the reasons for the title of this blog. In this Mitford series, Father Tim's favorite expression when faced with a trying situation or confusing dilemma was this: "Is there any balm in Gilead?" Father Tim's character never cusses, and he most certainly uses extreme tact in all dealings with his parish. However, the reader ALWAYS knew when he was frustrated or concerned with a situation because his thoughts turned to this one expression: "Is there any balm?"
This expression has become a favorite between my mother and me. When faced with hard situations or hurtful events - or even tasks that are deemed tedious - one of us looks at the other and mutters, "Is there any balm?" Sometimes we say it while muffling a laugh; other times we utter the phrase simply to keep from crying.
So what does the phrase Balm in Gilead mean? Why on earth did I choose it for the name of this blog? Why didn't I simply choose a title like Amy's Incoherence? Or Confessions of a Puzzle Addict? Or Ironing Is Punishment? Or Have a Dirt Bike, Need a Couch?
Those answers are coming tomorrow, my friends. Tomorrow.
You may be inwardly groaning right now, indignant that this post is dragging into two parts, but it can't be helped.....I have to make it look like I accomplished something here today while the kids are at Ms. LuAnn's.
So I've got to go iron J's jeans....and fix his broken belt loops....with the sewing machine.
Is there any balm?
Meanwhile, go get this book: