The Silver Answer - Another Reason

For us,… whatever ’s undergone,
Thou knowest, willest what is done.
Grief may be joy misunderstood:
Only the Good discerns the good.
    I trust Thee while my days go on. - from "De Profundis" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806-1881

A friend sent a request a while ago.  Could I please address schooling using Mason's methods when life happens? I forwarded the request to a friend because I didn't think I could adequately answer it.  Aside from a half dozen babies, things have remained fairly calm over the years.  Then came the emergency room visits and surgeries for 2 of my children followed by the loss of someone so close.

Now I have dozens of thoughts about all of this and my friend, Bobby Jo, is working on some very personal, helpful, and introspective thoughts to perhaps share with others at the upcoming LER.  But what I wanted to mention here is this; as a philosophy of education, Charlotte Mason is so intertwined with the whole person, including the spiritual, that there is an unbelievable, distinct comfort and joy in continuing - even when life hurts and comes undone.

I just wanted to talk about one aspect in this post - poetry.  This term we are reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poetry.  Her words have felt like someone has taken the top of my head off at times, then placed a buttery-soft blanket around my heart. The kind of blanket she would just pick up for us whenever she went shopping.

And I don't think it was coincidence that the week before things unraveled,  our TBG Community stood and each person read a stanza from De Profundis aloud.  I had read it twice at home, but when we gathered and did this community reading - the lightbulb was illuminated. I gasped and said, "Now I understand."  I had no idea how much this would mean to me in the weeks to come.

Last year, Richele gave my dd this fragile copy of Sonnets from the Portuguese for her sweet sixteen.  Now it's falling apart.  Here is one of my commonplace entries from Sonnets:

"Guess now who holds thee?" - "Death," I said, But, there,
The silver answer rang, -- "Not Death, but Love."

If you decide to read EBB's poetry, you must read this living book.  It is delightful.

The Silver Answer by Constance Buel Burnett

So, yes, this living education has taught me so much, including how to cope when life comes undone. Teacher's manuals and textbooks won't help much in this area.   There is so much more to this, of course, but I thought I'd just share a slice today.




  1. Thank you, Nancy, for this lovely post. I have ordered "The Silver Answer." May the God of all comfort (1 Cor 1:3) surround you during this season.

  2. (((NANCY))) I've been praying for you and your family! Those snippets of poetry REALLY touched me this morning in a deep way. Thank you for sharing.

  3. After reading your post, I ordered both books. Thank you for sharing.
    Krista F.

  4. It's so true. And this is lovely. Hugs!!
    Bobby Jo

  5. God's glory in those words prepared to be under you and in you. Beautiful.
    Hope you have read Chesterton's book on Robert Browning?!

  6. Thank You for your email this morning. I was saddened to hear about your loss of a dear friend and your children needing surgery. May God Bless and Comfort You All. All My Respects. Phyllis.

  7. It's comforting to know that in Christ we have everything we need no matter what assails us. And He uses not only His words but those that speak truth and life into our souls to bring comfort and aid when we need it. Thanks for sharing with us the value of a life lived in seeking out the very best.