Notes from Jan

Life’s Hidden Helpers

July 12, 2017


As I write I look out at gardens and a bicycle propped against a patio chair, study in contrasts from the view from my Perch. Arrived Saturday to enjoy time with family in California.

Everyone’s at work or camp this morning, leaving me and the dog to soak up the sun and serenity of this summer day.

Unlike home, no newspaper hit the porch, giving my morning a thump on the back. News settles somewhere, headlines rearrange, while I await the return of the clan, bringing news of their day, along with words from the internet and social media on Russian-American relations.

I’m interested.

My friend, Darlia, recommended, A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles. Through the novel, I’m journeying through several decades of Russian history, escorted by Count Alexander Rostov, living out his days under house arrest in the grand Metropol hotel, across the street from the Kremlin.

One day, after discovering linen closets, pantries, laundries and more in the Metropol with nine year old Nina, Count Rostov reflects, “It was like sailing on a steamship.  Having enjoyed an afternoon of shooting clay pigeons off the starboard bow, a passenger dresses for dinner, dines at the captain’s table, outplays a cocky French fellow at baccarat, and then strolls under the stars on the arm of a new acquaintance–all the while congratulating himself that he has made the most of a journey at sea.  But in point of fact, he has only exposed himself to a glimpse  of life on the ship–having utterly ignored those lower levels that teem with life and make the passage possible.”

I’m left asking, “Who are the hidden ones,  Holy Helpers who’ve made the passage possible for me?”

Who rises with possibilities and purpose this day because I helped, unnoticed but summoned ?




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  • Reply wendy lane July 12, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    Oh so happy you’re with your CA family! Enjoy!!
    Great questions… I intend to ponder on them some. So important to be aware so we can thank them! And be aware that God uses us, even when we may be unawares.
    PS. Just a piece of somewhat unrelated info, my Mother’s name, who was Russian, was Nina. <3

  • Reply Darlia Conn July 13, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Jan, I loved your reflection on the excerpt from the book. It makes me want to read it again..soon!

  • Reply susan July 13, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    I absolutely loved that book and am so glad you like it too. give my love to all the California gang. xoxo

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