I’m reading Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson aloud to my girls as a part of their geography studies. From the first paragraph, it has been a surprise hit. It’s the story of Maia, an orphan, who has been summoned away from her boarding school in England to live with relatives in the Amazonian jungle. She is accompanied by Miss Minton, who will be the governess for the children of the family. Of course, the situation turns out to be less than they’d hoped, but Miss Minton has a balm to ease their suffering:
Miss Minton had been poor all her life. She had no trinkets, no personal possessions; her employers underpaid her when they paid her at all–but her trunk was an Aladdin’s cave. There were travel books and fairy tales, novels and dictionaries and collections of poetry. . .
“How did you get them all?” Maia asked wonderingly. “How did you manage?”
Miss Minton shrugged.
“If you want something enough you usually get it. But you have to take what goes with it”–and she pointed to her shabby blouse and mended skirt. “Now, let’s see–what shall we start with? Ah, yes, here is Bates. He must have sailed down this very river not sixty years ago. Look at that drawing of a sloth. . . ” (51)
When I read this little exchange, oh my! I was struck by the truth of Miss Minton’s statement: “If you want something enough you usually get it. But you have to take what goes with it.” Yes! Isn’t this a secret to living a life of contentment? To be able to accept this fact with the nonchalance of Miss Minton–that’s my aspiration.
I’m linking up to Wednesdays with Words at Ladydusk. Check it out!