While I was taking my insurance class last week, I had lots of time to read during lunch and breaks. So I finished two and a half books, one of which was Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities". I read it during high school and loved it, but it had been so long that I wanted to reread it, and I am so glad I did. Though I have a really hard time picking a favorite anything, this is, without questions, my favorite book.
Set in the time before and during the French Revolution, it follows the lives of the Manette family and their close friends. It is a beautiful, beautiful story, a story that thrills and saddens, that excites and encourages. It leaves its readers with a picture of the best and worst of humanity. And the best, without giving away the endings, are those who willingly sacrifice themselves for the good of others. It is a story that, both times I have read it, leaves my heart yearning for this kind of greatness. And that's when I am reminded of what C.S. Lewis wrote about in "Mere Christianity":
Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy...There was something we grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in the reality...something has evaded us.When I finished "A Tale of Two Cities", there was something that evaded me that I knew was the most perfect and right and good thing in the world. And that is why it is my favorite story, because causes me to yearn deeply for the one story that I love even more, the story of the True Reality, who does satisfy just like He promises, the Lord Jesus.