Tuesday, February 3, 2009

“…peace is joy at rest, and joy is peace on its feet…”

I love to read. I have my BA in English, which should be a tip off right there. I try to only read one book at a time, but lately, that plan has failed. Right now I have started about five books from Anderson Cooper to a Christian book about when life hurts to a book about bio-identical hormones to a night-time devotional. On a good day, there will even be some fiction included in that list.
Anyway, every reader has their favorite authors. One of mine is Anne Lamott. She is a Christian writer, but she is different than any other Christian writer I’ve ever read or heard of. She is controversial and very liberal and non-traditional. And she says things that she shouldn’t, but that we all do sometimes, and she’s made more mistakes than most. Plus, she sometimes refers to God as a “she,” which I don’t like and you probably don’t like, but I honestly think she does it more to make people like you and me angry because it gives her a good laugh.
But, before you write her off, let me also say that she is one of the funniest, most-honest people I’ve ever read. She is the author you pick up when life sucks and people suck and your outfit today sucked. She makes you laugh and reminds you that life is messy and that is okay. She takes every bad day and makes it a teachable, endearing moment. She reminds me of God’s grace and love and forgiveness. She reminds me that God uses messes for His glory and His people for His plan.
So, here are the best Anne Lamott quotes from the book I am currently reading (which is Plan B: Further Thoughts On Faith):
“…peace is joy at rest, and joy is peace on its feet…”

“We start by being kind to ourselves. We breathe, we eat. We remember that God is present wherever people suffer.”

“The problem with God – or at any rate one of the top five most annoying things about God – is that He…rarely answers right away. It can take days, weeks. Some people seem to understand this – that life and change take time.”

“He teaches his students, and has taught me, to slow down, breathe, and take care of everyone, which is of course the same message Jesus taught – that breath is our connection to Holy Spirit, to our bodies, minds, and soul; and that if the devil can’t get you to sin, he’ll keep you busy.”

“You’ve got to love this in a God – consistently assembling the motleyest people to bring, into the lonely and frightening world, a commitment to caring and community. It’s a centuries-long realty show – Moses the stutter-er, Rahab the hooker, David the adulterer, Mary this homeless teenager. Not to mention all the mealy-mouthed disciples. Not to mention a raging insecure narcissist like me.”

“…when you pray, you are not starting the conversation from scratch, just remembering to plug back into a conversation that’s always in progress."

“I don’t know why God won’t just spritz away our hardships and frustration. I don’t know why the most we can hope for on some days is to end up a little less crazy than before, less down on ourselves. I don’t know why we have to become so vulnerable before we can connect with God, and even sometimes with ourselves.”

“Help’ is a prayer that is always answered. It doesn’t matter how you pray – with your head bowed in silence, or crying out in grief, or dancing. Churches are good for prayer, but so are garages and cars and mountains and showers and dance floors. Years ago I wrote an essay that began, ‘Some people think that God is in the details, but I have come to believe that God is in the bathroom.’ Prayer usually means praise, or surrender, acknowledging that you have run out of bullets. But there are no firm rules…I just talk to God. I pray when people I love are sick, and I prayed when I didn’t know whether I should have a baby. I pray when my work is horrible, or suddenly, miraculously, better…When I am in my right mind, which is about twice a month, I pray kindly.”

“Things are not perfect, because life is not TV and we are real people with scarred, worried hearts. But it’s amazing a lot of the time. Where there was darkness, silence, and blame, there’s now a family, and that means there’s mess and misunderstanding, hurt feelings, and sighs. But it is a family…”

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