To Catch a Vision

The expression has some currency in the world of christian media, we talk about catching a vision ... but this may be stating the obvious ... you are supposed to catch a vision, like catching a butterfly, not like catching a cold.
It is easy, I have discovered to find that you have quite literally 'caught' a vision, in the contagious sense, and the downside to that, is - it ain't your vision!
My friend Cat has been talking at length about authenticity and honesty, especially when it comes to brokeness.
But what's also important is that the small treasures we hold, unbroken, remain precious and are acknowleged as our own.
I have too often been swept away in a 'vision' of homesteading and the values and virtues of 'Plain'. I have gained so much from all that, and to this day, still sneakily curl on a quiet afternoon, to read slim sections from the pages of The Plain Reader, once they have been shuffled back into place, having long since fallen out with over use.
My whole notion of church and education (home schooling) has been forged on this anvil of the Western Expansion, the cultural patchwork quilt that is Rural America.
But, I don't live there. And given that God doesn't make mistakes, nor was I intended to.
Some days I awake and realise that my own life, my very own life, which does not in any way match with the desirable vision toting big blogs of homestead land - is in fact, a perfect, perfect microcosm of quiet chapel history, the Sunday meetings, morning and evening, the English kitchen where home grown veg meet up with a local roast, and pudding comes with custard - the knitting of a cardigan, the walking of a dog, the working of a dog, a booted husband who shepherds sheep and hauls hay, and children who will be in a preciously recreated environment - a little village school with a christian curriculum.
And for generations of quietly devout and devoted, non conformist chapel women, the daily routine was much like mine - my grandmother's family was one such, though sadly I was robbed of a lot of the stories, by my staunchly Anglican mother, who wiped out as much of the chapel baggage as she ever could - but I know this to be the case, and it's a precious thing.
It's an awesome thing to realise that you already have it ... that all the precious gems of the quiet English world, beloved of many quiet generations, the girls on ponies in a milky dawn (or a drippy afternoon), the golden stubble (which once called us to gallop in an autumn frenzy for weeks, and now, blink and you miss it, they disc that stuff overnight, we had to stop to gaze on stubble today, because by the next time we will certainly drive by, next Sunday, it will certainly be gone) - and next week, even, the green tented Guide camp .... these are the testimony of quiet, christian England, these are a glimpse of a simpler time, but in this land, not far away.

it's all about home, not a far off land

Little House on the Praire

it's all about truth, not dreams.
it's all about now.

"nothing is real until you do it"


Cat said...

Explain "chapel" to me please? Like Isaac Watts as opposed to state-supported denominations? I know very little English church history outside of what made and killed royalty.

Jackie said...

Yep, you're about there.
These days, 'church' is used in a more general sense, you will hear people say they go to a Baptist church or a Methodist church.
This is new, though. In my lifetime there was a clear distinction. If you did not attend the Established (state) Church (capital C) (or, paradoxically, the previously Establishe, Roman Catholic Church) then you were 'non-conformist', or, for short, 'chapel'
A chapel is a building, usually square and austere, with no frills and furbelows, often Victorian, gien to galleries and school rooms - but no altar rail, and centred uncompromisingly upon the pulpit, the reading and preaching of the Word being the whole and entire purpose.
But the word was also used thus: 'Should we give Mrs Mopp a bottle of sherry for her Christmas Box, dahling?'
'Goodness me no, Daphne, she's chapel'
'Shall we see the new family at number 13 in church do you think?'
'I doubt it, they're chapel.'

There's a complicated element of class, as well - the well to do are always establishment and CofE (apart from the ones with the priestholes and secret ... erm.. chapels, oh how confusing, who stuck with the Church of Rome) whereas worthy middle class types in town and sturdy sons of the soil in villages are more often 'chapel'
Too much information, right?!

Dorothy said...

Mmm...poetic musings on village/chapel etc, Jackie. It sounds like you are Home! {g}

We explored some pretty villages in the West Country last week (Somerset) and noticed that all the chapels were down a side road of the main street. Ours in Woodstock is very unusually right on the main street! (It used to be a livery stables in the C18th.)

I'm sure there's a reason for the sidestreetedness of chapels, but can't think why. Possibly the only land they were allowed to buy?

Jackie said...

Don't know - our old one is top and centre of the town, and our current (village) one is also on the main drag - but I imagine it may have been mainly just that no mainstreet locations were available, what with chapels, by and large, being latecomers to villages which had established their layout in medieval times?
Not sure about 'home', there are still major 'issues', I'd say we're more camped out in the garden! LOL that analogy really didn't work!

Cat said...

Ahh, garden. We picked our pie apples today. Poor baby tree is flopped over and worrying me.

That sounds like the Baptist denominations of Canada, which makes sense I suppose, since they're descended from the English non-state churches, whereas in my parts, "Anabaptist" designates those of the continent who did the European Persecution Holiday Tour through Russia, Austria and Germany and so forth. But originally they were essentially the same idea.

Now they've polarized doctrinally, with "Baptist" tending to mean "legalistic isolationist" and "Anabaptist" to mean "post-modern ecumenical socialist."

Don't really want to be either, myself, so I call myself "historic Anabaptist" to refer to the old ways. But maybe I'll start using "chapel" for short. ;~)

Off to ogle Dorothy's Victorian pier photos again. Lovely.

Rebecca said...

I have been following your lovely blog for a few months and really love it. This entry really hit home for me, as I also really value maintaining many of our traditional ways where I rural America! As our country becomes increasingly diverse, many folks of all ethnicities turn away from their traditional crafts, family ways, etc. I really value so many of the ways of my family and want to make sure my child and nieces are exposed to those wonderful, warm ways.

Becky said...

Hi Jackie, I found this post really profound. Thank you from a anglican brought up by an anglican father and chapel mother and whos grandparents were all staunch chapel bar the one anglican!!! Will be thinking of you particularly this week. May you really know Gods peace and blessing

Ellen said...

See, Jackie, that's what I mean: you're living the life I want to live! And I was living it, too, in Maine for two months. And now I'm back to the insanity of Atlanta... Oh, well.

A really lovely post. Consider writing a book.

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