Anyway, one of the most endearing and heartrending aspects of Lila’s character is that she replays the past in her mind and entertains the idea of leaving Gilead forever if at any time she feels the need. No matter how dark or difficult, she sometimes misses her old life. But I don’t think she gives herself enough credit. She is more faithful than she realizes. (Or is it that Ames is so faithful, so devoted it just makes it seem this way. That would be the more Calvinist interpretation. She can’t unbind herself from Ames, really, anymore that she can unbaptized herself. She could get out of Gilead, but she couldn’t get the Gilead out of her so to speak.)
Its interesting that she and Ames discuss Lila’s reserved right to leave somewhat comfortably, as if they have both always known Lila’s need to wander could one day win out. This dynamic is intriguing because its universal in both marriage and faith. “Prone to wander Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love” says the old hymn (“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by Robert Robinson).
Unfortunately I read a review online from a Christian that assumes that Lila’s voice and perspective are the same as Robinson’s. I don’t think that is the case at all. Lila wrestles with God and his Word deeply and often and has a difficult time accepting the concept of “the elect” that Ames shares with her. I think it’s more accurate to say that Robinson’s view is that of Ames, but that all Calvinists, all Christians, all humans have a hard time understanding why God would create in his very own image beings he loves so much and then allows them to perish. In a sense there is some Lila in everyone.
One example of Robinson’s voice coming through Ames is when he tells Lila “. . . thinking that other people might go to hell just feels evil to me, like a very grave sin. . . You can’t see the world the way you ought to if you let yourself do that.” This is a really good point and a perspective I’ve never heard before. I love what Lila says in response. “I don’t know nothing about it.”