:: peace like a river/pages 129-179 - faith ::

[I was drinking yerba mate, a tea from South America. I was also burning piñon incense due to the Land family's yearning for "high desert" in the Southwest (page 112).]

On pages 129-130, Reuben mentions that the day after Christmas, Jeremiah started preparing to leave "on faith alone." At that point, they had not received the funny postcard from August & Birdie, nor heard anything from Davy. And yet, they prepared to pack up and leave. I noticed that faith was clearly evident on pages 130-131, too:

"Faith brought this about. Faith, as Dad saw it, had delivered unto us the Airstream trailer, and faith would direct our travels."

"I have the substance of things hoped for. I have the anticipation of things unseen," said Jeremiah to Dr. Nokes. I think Swede got some of her cheekiness from her Dad, don't you?

"How could we not have faith? For the foundation had been laid in prayer and sorrow. Since that fearful night, Dad had responded with the almost impossible work of belief. He had burned with repentance as though his own hand had fired the gun. He had laid up prayer as if with a trowel. You know this is true, and if you don't it is I the witness who am to blame."

That last quote is such beautiful writing, and it seems important to me. I've been wondering if Jeremiah felt responsible for not trying to stop Davy from shooting the boys. As I see it, Jeremiah had to restrain Swede away from gunfire for her safety. But I don't recall him shouting or saying anything to Davy. Perhaps he was too stunned, like Reuben.

I also believe that Jeremiah is very conflicted. He loves his son so much I can almost feel it, but on page 139 he did admit, "He [Davy] shouldn't have .... It's true he shouldn't have. That jury would've had to convict him."

So, what are your thoughts on the faith-passages - mine and others in the book? I loved how Jeremiah likened their Airstream road trip to the Israelites' journey in the desert, and Reuben's observations on that comparison. Reuben is funny in his own way, isn't he? To me, Rube and Swede (as a pair) take after their Dad a lot. Maybe Davy inherited more character traits from their Mom. I might be wrong, but the thought just came to me.

Do you think Jeremiah should feel so responsible for the shootings? Or does he have undue guilt? I mean, Davy is near grown, making his own decisions.


kate ortiz said...

Of all the faith passages, thus far my favorite is the one you mention about their airstream road trip being like the Israelites' journey. I appreciate Reuben's honesty here:

"Once traveling, it's remarkable how quickly faith erodes. It starts to look like something else - ignorance, for example. Same thing happened to the Israelites. Sure it's weak, but sometimes you'd rather just have a map."

I admit I struggle with this. My faith will start out strong when wrestling and acting on a specific issue and then some time into it I question my faith, the situation, or wonder if I'm just crazy for diving headlong into something I know I can only accomplish with God's grace and guidance.

As to Jeremiah's guilt, I can't seem to find the passage (and it very well might not be there) but did Jeremiah say somewhere that he knew Davy would try something after the situation with his girlfriend and Swede?

I wonder if it isn't guilt but a deep sense of sadness and responsibility that Jeremiah feels.

**I like the way you broke this down, Jenni. Thanks!

Crystal said...

I wish we got a little more from our witness about Jeremiah's feelings on the whole shooting and jail escape. I felt like I never really could get a grasp on where Jeremiah stood on all of it. Obviously he knew what Davy did was wrong and he had faith enough to go looking for him with nothing but the Lord to guide him, but what was he feeling? What would he do if he found Davy?

Maybe we don't get that information because Reuben doesn't have it either. Maybe he doesn't really understand his father's feelings on the subject either. He seems to mostly understand Swede and Davy, to some degree, but Jeremiah seems to be a mystery to him as well.

jenni said...

Kate, I also loved the quote you mentioned. I'm often hard on the Israelites, but when I read that quote, I was like, "Oh - that is so me." I'm a typical Israelite. And, even if there's not a passage, I think you're right in that Jeremiah felt like he should've known that Davy would do something, and something pretty bad. He knows his children better than anyone, after all.

Crystal, I don't know what Jeremiah will do when they find Davy, either, but I'm very intrigued. And dreading the situation, for some reason.

Libby said...

I was thinking the parent of anyone who did something like this would feel a deep sense of sadness and a repentance if they were a believer. I think of Job and how he would even make sacrifices for his children after nights of feasting in case they sinned but to have your own son kill two men-no matter how much they deserved it how could you not feel a sense of responsibility? Do you think part of Jeremiah's sickness came partly from the burden he bore of his son being a fugitive etc?
Am I making any sense?

jenni said...

I hadn't thought about Jeremiah's pneumonia being related to his burden over Davy, but you may be right. Maybe that's why he's still so thin. Stress does all kinds of things to a body, so it's possible. Jeremiah's headaches seem related to his troubled spirit sometimes, too.

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