There are few moments in life which we remember with acute clarity. There are even fewer moments in our life where we experience a frozen moment of time. Some moments like this are pivotal for obvious reasons such as holding a new born baby or a first kiss. When you are a child these moments can be anything from a loving embrace to a surprise A on a school paper. For me, I only remember one as a child. I was at the school library and I saw a book with an intriguing title that caught my attention: The Princess and The Goblin. I was eight years old and I loved fairy tales but hadn’t yet attempted to read a volume as large as this. Still I remembered the moment of reaching for the volume, taking it down from the shelf and feeling a sense of awe for THIS looked like a book really worth reading! I borrowed the book (needless to say) and took it home and read it. I don’t remember how long it took me to read it but I remember two things clearly. I remember beginning the book and loving the illustration of Princess Irene in her starry bedroom and I remember the moment I finished it because I did something I had never done before or since. Immediately after finishing the last page in the book, I turned back to the first page to begin reading it again. I remember after that looking in my basement for a secret door which would lead me to a secret staircase but I never found it although I had dreams that I did.
Two years later at the same school library, I came across The Princess and Curdie. I never found any other books by GM until I was in my early twenties and came across two paperback books with interesting covers at a book store. I didn’t realize who the author was until I was sitting on the train on my way back home looking at my purchases and discovered it was the same author I had loved as a child. So I then read Phantastes and Lillith.
Years later, I discovered more books by GM through a catalogue I received. After that, when I had the internet, I decided to do a search on George MacDonald. I found two websites (yup, only two then), one of them mentioned an email list to join to discuss his works. I joined the community and gained so much more knowledge and insight into GM and his faith. I eventually began corresponding with one of the other email subscribers. One day, he told me of a dream he had where we were in a dark cave along with a bunch of children searching for Princess Irene’s ring. He found it first and then tossed it to me. Three years later I had moved from the US to the UK and married him. Together we visited GM’s birthplace in Huntley.
Last year, I read George MacDonald’s Unspoken Sermons and felt as if I have really come home to my faith. I read all three volumes slowly and took notes and felt my spirit soar to new heights. His views on God resonated and added new depths to my faith. I consider George MacDonald to be a 19th century Christian mystic with a huge heart and a wonderfully wild imagination.
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