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Reflections on Hemingway’s Girl

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Hemingway’s Girl was a really good read. Let that be said, first of all.

I haven’t read any Hemingway since I was in junior high, sneaking into my sisters’ bedroom to read the books from their Great Books literature class. I did this in hopes of either becoming super smart, or at least perhaps I might inadvertently stumble across a book with a slightly racy part or two, like I had when I read Pearl Buck’s  The Good Earth.

At the point when I read it, I liked The Old Man and the Sea, but was secretly left to wonder why this book qualified as a Great Book.

No matter. That’s my less than enthusiastic review of Hemingway’s work. Given that I last read his stuff in junior high, I’m thinking I maybe SHOULD give him another try.

It’s a good read! I recommend it.

I won a copy of the book Hemingway’s Girl  (written by Erika Robuck) from a book club I participate in from time to time over at Great Thoughts, with Andrea Katz. Andrea has turned me on to so many enjoyable reads, and I love seeing what she’s recommending. She selected Hemingway’s Girl as her top read of 2012, so I knew this was likely to be a winner. And it was!

Robuck does a great job of not only making Hemingway come alive as a person, but also of telling a carefully woven tale, that will keep you turning pages, all the way to the end. I interacted with her recently on an online Twitter book club chat, and may I say what fun those are! How often do you get to respond to an author on a personal level on what resonated with you from their work?! This is one of the things that makes Twitter worthwhile, in my opinion. You can address questions to the author, and be answered in real time. Amazing.

As an aside, I will also mention that Ms. Robuck also did a fantastic job of assuring historical accuracy. She carefully researched Hemingway and Key West during the mid 1930’s, and it shows.

So part of what I’d like to share today is not just that I read and recommend this very good book, but the way it plays into the things I’m thinking about lately. When you reach my age, and your kids are racing headlong toward the finish line of leaving your home, you begin to reflect on your life. You think about the things you’ve done, and the things you’ve yet to do.

At the end of Hemingway’s Girl, the main character, Mariella, receives a letter from Hemingway, written just prior to his suicide, where he, too, is reflecting on his own life, in a similar manner. In telling Mariella how significant a role she has played in his life, he compares her to a character from the book, The Old Man and the Sea. To Hemingway, Mariella has been neither the fish, nor the boy, but the sea: the one who keeps him afloat, the one whose beauty surrounds and inspires him.

For me, this was a call back to my own life: what have I done that is of any worth? Are there lives I have made a difference in? People I’ve encouraged, helped, or inspired?

I firmly believe that God places each of us here on this earth to accomplish things He has prepared in advance for us to do. There’s a Bible verse that I cherish that speaks to that, and it’s Ephesians 2:10, which states:

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

By the time you reach my age, you really OUGHT to have a clue in regard to some of the works that God created you to do. That’s one of the beautiful things about reaching middle age. I know what my strengths are, and what my gifts are. In the movie “Chariots of Fire”, Eric Liddell says, “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” I have some fairly clear ideas in regard to the gifts God has placed within me: when I use them, and use them for good, I really do feel His pleasure.

I was meeting with my group of Friday Friends last Friday, and one of my friends was in pain and asked for prayer. One of my other girlfriends, who struggles with chronic pain, and who had brought her heating pad to group to ease her own pain, took that heating pad she’d brought for herself and laid it on the friend who had asked for prayer. It was such a beautiful, significant gesture to me.

It doesn’t take much to help: it only takes what we have, what’s in our hand.

 What is it you do, that when you do it, you feel His pleasure?

What do you have in your hand, that you can share?

I am longing to be Spirit-led, and to do the good works He’s prepared in advance for me to do.

Nothing more.

But nothing less.

How about you?