savoring anne lamott – part two

page 152: (on finding yourself or someone you know in a ‘bad’ situation) “Sometimes we let them resist finding any meaning or solace in anything that had to do with their daughter’s diagnosis…to stop trying to make things come out better than they were. We let them spew when they needed to; we offered the gift of no comfort when there being no comfort was where they had landed.”

page 163: “I believe that when all is said and done, all you can do is to show up for someone in crisis, which seems so inadequate. But then when you do, it can radically change everything. Your there-ness, your stepping into a sacred parent’s line of vision, can be life-giving, because often everyone else is hiding…so you keep them company when it feels like the whole world is falling apart, and your being there says that just for this moment, this one tiny piece of the world is OK, or is at least better.”

page 167: (on finding God in the ordinary) “…sometimes when you need to feel the all-embracing nature of God, paradoxically you need to hang out in ordinariness, in daily ritual and comfort.”

page 197: (on her battle with bulimia) “Over the years my body has not gotten firmer. Just the opposite in fact. But when I feel fattest and flabbiest and most repulsive, I try to remember that gravity speaks…I do not live in my thighs or in my droopy butt. I live in joy and motion and cover-ups. I live in the nourishment of food and the sun and the warmth of the people who love me.”

page 213: (on forgiveness) “Who was it who said that forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a different past?”

page 219: (on family) “…my family is like this old sweater – it keeps unraveling, but then someone figures out how to sew it up one more time; it has lumps and then it unravels again, but you can still wear it; and it still keeps away the chill.”

page 219 (on forgiveness and family) “…families are definitely the training ground for forgiveness. At some point you pardon the people in your family for being stuck together in all their weirdness.”

page 255 (on God’s love) “The mystery of God’s love as I understand it is that God loves the man who was being mean to his dog as much as he loves babies. So of course he loves old ordinary me, even or especially at my most scared and petty and mean and obsessive. Loves me; chooses me.”

I have to say discovering Anne Lamott and her works was one of my literary highlights of the year. I know, I am a nerd. One reason why I’d really enjoyed ‘Traveling Mercies’ was her raw honesty with herself and her readers. Here’s someone who:

  • was an alcoholic and drug addict
  • was bulimic
  • had a child out of wedlock and didn’t seem to get married after all
  • wears dreadlocks in her 40s cos she has had enough of her unruly mess of hair
  • frets about finding the ‘right’ man
  • struggles to love and accept her ageing mother sometimes (gasp, did she really confess to that?!)
  • uses swear words in her book (really, should a Christian even do that!)

You know, Anne probably wouldn’t be ranking very high in the typical Christian circle. Yet how many of us can identify with her struggles and wish we were as honest as she was about it? No pretenses; not trying to appear all-put-together; just speaking from one’s heart to the other.

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Posted on October 5, 2011, in Musings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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