Recently, I discovered one more gem of a BBC drama series I can’t get enough of watching — Lark Rise to Candleford. Based on British author Flora Thompson’s autobiographical writings, the story opens on the small Oxfordshire village of Lark Rise and the wealthier market town of nearby Candleford, chronicling the lives of neighbors –craftsmen, farmers, and gentry – at times boisterous and quirky, at times warm and loving.
Add to that the breathtaking cinematic photography, scenery that is like a living painting aglow, the lilting music — well, it steals like fingers of sunlight across the heart’s window. I’ve found myself humming the opening music, the way it trails off like a rippling note on an oboe, and even singing words of praise to it — wishing it would go on and on.
So it was with one episode I watched the other night (Season 4, episode 2). In one swoop, it surpassed all that went before it, and like a ribbon to a favorite novel, I bookmarked it to my heart: A gentle story of Lark Riser Queenie (beautifully played by Linda Bassett) making the sorrowful discovery that the world has suddenly discarded her exquisite handmade lace for machine-processed.
So much more than just a financial source for the poor cottage woman, her lace is treasure she wraps tenderly in blue tissue. “I was brought up to the pillow and taught to fling these here bobbins with the best of them,” she explains, “and every bead has its own story…”
Her words, the mood of the music and the lighting and softness in her voice in this scene, resonated over and over in me. For what she terms a certain enchantment, I’ve felt too…
“I do believe this is the most… delicate… grand… lace ever to come off my bobbin,” Queenie confides softly – tender, humble wonder in her words. “There’s times when I look at them little webs and weaves and — well, I don’t know where it comes from. It’s like… I… didn’t make it…” Then, softer still, letting the lace spill out over her fingers like fragile strands of golden thread, she shares the glory she recognizes in this creating, but finds hard to describe. “There’s an enchantment about it that’s beyond me…”
Distracted by her own unhappiness, not really hearing the heart Queenie is opening to her, Ruby, the seamstress, talks over her words, fails to see how her own crush. “Oh, we shan’t be needing your lace anymore,” she tosses lightly over her shoulder, not seeing the welling sorrow in Queenie’s eyes. “My sister was persuaded by a commercial gentleman that bobbin lace is antiquated…”
It isn’t until later that Ruby, come to Queenie to help her with a sadness within her own life, uncovers a release as Queenie takes her hands gently in her own… teaches Ruby how to move the bobbins… to let forgiveness flow through the threads and find healing in the making of such delicate beauty…
Then later still, when Queenie’s husband puts aside his own cares to lovingly join her in folding the lace treasure carefully away…
I watch this story unfold, tears spilling from the corners of my eyes.
I’ve never threaded delicate lace into elegant pattern
or held a child of my own next to my heart
or composed a song to carry the spirit high
or sung with a voice that brings glory to a listener
or run my fingers over a piano to the thrill of another
or done a hundred thousand other things that reveal His Glory in and through us —
I have felt that same wonder each time I finish a drawing or each time I find just the right words to express a thought… stand back and think as Queenie did… Lord, this could only be YOU… surely I did not do this… It is like an enchantment…
Making me recall something I wrote about this Lent in Candlelight…and Hope of Glory, quoting singer songwriter Marty Goetz on his Psalm Enchanted Evening:
“Now some of you may be a bit afraid of that word – enchanting. but it doesn’t mean ‘magic’ or anything like that,” Mr. Goetz says. “I looked it up in the dictionary. It comes from a word ‘incantare’ – to sing. It actually means, to sing! I bet you didn’t know that. And ‘enchantment’ means ‘to woo to a place of emotional…actually love… a place of affection,’ through this singing. So basically, what this evening is, is the plucking and plunking of stringed instruments to woo through the singing this evening… ”
Mmm… and basically what this is... this wonder of using the gifts God puts within us, this being a part of creating life in so many varied and brightly beribboned ways – and recognizing Glory like Queenie reveling in the making of her lace, unable to stop making it even if no one else should ever appreciate her work again — this is the singing and the wooing of our God in and over and through our hearts.
What is it that makes you hear and just know… He is singing over you? 🙂 The thing that makes you stop and breathe… surely, I did not do this alone...?
© Pam Depoyan