Thursday, February 17, 2011

If you've ever been slapped in the face with grief or disappointment, this is for you!

So, a few months ago, a good friend recommended a book club to me.  I'm sad to say that she moved away before I was able to make my first meeting.  However, I've been to 2 meetings so far and read 3 of the books.  I'm truly loving this time.  One, it encourages me to get back into reading which is something I thought I'd never have time to do again because I always seemed to have a needy baby.  LOL  Though my babies seem to be growing up all too quickly, I'm noticing their independence has give me a little bit of my independence back as well and it is an amazing feeling. and 2, though  I don't know any of the ladies in book club that well yet, I hope to get to know them better over time and develop friendships.  ANYWAY, I said all that to say, this months book is a MUST read to ANYONE who has ever been slapped so hard in the face with grief, or disappointment, depression or an awful marriage, abusive relationships or has just ever felt alone at any point in your life.  I think it's safe to say we've all been there at some point.

Now let me just tell you this....I haven't even completely finished chapter one and it spoke so loudly to me that I couldn't go to bed without begging you all to read this book.  If you've ever caught yourself wondering if God really does exist and if He does, how can such awful things happen to you or to those you love or to any good person in general, you will want to read this book.  As I read, I find myself saying, "I've said that before...I've thought that....WOW!!!  That's profound!"  I've never had a book captivate me so much within the first few pages.  Not only has the book captured my attention because I've been where the writer is in my own life but she is an AMAZING writer and has ways of making you want to just keep reading.  I would venture to say that if we didn't have a cable installation man coming to our home in the morning, I would probably stay up all night reading this book.  It is called, "one thousand gift" and it's by Ann Voskamp.   Yes it is in the religious section of your book store.  If you don't consider yourself a religious person or a Christian or Spiritual at all, I still plead with you, if you enjoy reading, pick up this book.  I'll even venture to bet you that in some way, it will impact your life!

I think one reason this book spoke to me so much was the feeling the author expressed when she was sharing her moments of grief and questioning God's existence.  Though I don't want to ruin the book for you should you choose to accept this challenge, I do want to share a snippet of a part that really got my attention.  It was when the author was going to comfort her sister in law and brother in law after the loss of their second child.  Their boys didn't live past 5 months do to genetic defects.  They buried 2 sons within a year and a half of each other.  The author lost her sister at a young age and the impact of that loss and seeing her parents grief and turning away from God had her questioning if God really did exist.  When she was in the hospital room she says to her brother in law who's second son is fading rapidly, (and I will continue with the portion I want to share as well as her quote.  It all runs in together and it's the brother in law's response to her words that truly opened up my eyes and made me see things differently...or should I say, more clearly.)  "If it were up to me..." and the the words pound, desperate and hard, "I'd write this story differently."
     I regret the words as soon as they leave me.  They seem so un-Christian, so unaccepting--so No, God!  I wish I could take them back, comb out their tangled madness, dress them in their calm Sunday best.  But there they are, released and naked, raw and real, stripped of any theological cliche', my exposed, serrated howl to the throne room.
     "you know..."  John's voice breaks into my memory and his gaze lingers, then turns again toward the waving wheat field.  "Well, even with our boys...I don't know why that all happened."  He shrugs again.  "But do I have to?"...Who knows?  I don't mention it often, but sometimes I think of that story in the Old Testament.  Can't remember what book, but you know--when God gave King Hezekiah fifteen more years of life?  Because he prayed for it?  But if Hezekiah had died when God first intended, Manasseh would never have been born.  And what does the Bible say about Manasseh?  Something to the effect that Manasseh had led the Israelites to do even more evil than all the heathen nations around Israel.  Think of all the evil that would have been avoided if Hezekiah had died earlier, before Manasseh was born.  I am not saying anything, either way, about anything."
     He's watching that sea of green rolling in winds.  Then it comes slow, in a low, quiet voice that I have to strain to hear.  
     "Just that maybe...maybe you don't want to change the story, because you don't know what a different ending holds."

WOW!!!  That really made me stop and think.  And I know the part that I just shared does have a lot about the Bible and God in it but that's OK....I hope it doesn't turn anyone away. After all this is about they Authors quest to discover for herself what she believes and how she feels about God.  I have to say that the brother in laws response is not a response I would have given during my grief of losing my father.  I was like the author.  I wanted to know why?!  If you ever watch movies about time travel, you probably know the one resounding rule that is explained in all time travel movies.  DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING!!!  because if you change what has already happened or what is meant to happen, you change the entire ending to the story and we don't know that the changed ending would be any better than the current ending.  This man wasn't saying that his boys would have been evil.  He wasn't even saying that his boys offspring would have.  He was simply stating that this ending, as awful as it appears now is for a reason and it's not always for us to know and that it certainly COULD be for the better.  That is some amazing strength!!  I'll not share anymore of the book with you at the moment.  But I do plead with you to pick it up for yourself!  It is truly magnificent!!!
Until I blog again~

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