Sunday, January 20, 2013

Help, Thanks, Wow

"It's all hopeless. Even for a crabby optimist like me," writes Lamott in Help, Thanks, Wow.

I like Lamott's writing. She is witty, gritty, down to earth and real. She is also an ex-addict. I like ex-addicts. They generally don't bs you, unlike the general populous, who has made an art form of it, which I personally loathe. Call me simple that way, but duplicity makes my skin crawl; which probably explains why I don't get along with anybody. And while I'm not technically an ex-addict,  I am someone working the program (which my friend Jeanette so totally gets), trying to come tot terms with my own OCD, anxiety and people-phobia without appearing to be too much of a weirdy. Some days I do real well, and others, well... not so much.

Anne writes, "The 3 most terrible truths of our existence; that we are so ruined, and so loved and in charge of so little." Oh, I can relate. And I agree. And that is the problem I have with most of the church right now. It seems to have forgotten the general state of ruination among the party-goers and acts like if you wear a skirt and hose to church, despite your selfish,sinful heart, than it's all gonna be alright. Or it makes an art form of "You're ruined, I'm not." Or it forgets that part all together and jumps right to the "I am so loved." Either way, sad fact of reality, we're all ruined.

And then there is the part were we are all so loved. I didn't grow up in a decade of being so loved but I am related to and acquainted with people who have. The sense of entitlement and selfishness that goes along with this Truth not only shocks me but obscures the Truth of it, minimizing it to the point of falsehood. You're not so loved because you are so wonderful. You are so loved because of God's abundance. You can screw up and wound from your place of esteem. You are fallible. The reality is that we have to get our love from Truth, we have to realize our lovableness is from Truth, not ourselves, or we end up addicted to something False, and then Lies control us and we end up back at square 1, which states, "I am so ruined."

And the being in charge of so little. I love intentional living philosophy/books and systems. But the sad fact of reality is that we really aren't in charge of a whole lot; not things or people or outcomes. The past 3 years have been fairly demanding in our lives; a house fire, my Dad and Sister dying, adult children moving out and making choices despite, sometimes to spite, us, friends that are false,etc. You know- experiencing the gamut of human relationships. And I've had to come to terms with the fact that even though I really work at living my faith, at really living it, it doesn't assure anything, other than that I've been faithful. There are no guarantees. I really have very little control of much of anything. And when we try to make things go just right, have a specific outcome that is just so, we end up back at square 1, which states, "I am so ruined." Square 1 and I are, despite my desperate struggle to divorce myself from it, are good friends.

I've always loved the song, Amazing Grace, and Lamott writes about wonder and revelation. "God has smiled on me. He has set me free. For us to acknowledge that we have been set free from toxic dependency, crippling obsession or guilt, that we have been graced with the ability finally to forgive someone is just plain astonishing. To have been so lost that you felt abducted, to feel loved, returned and set back on your feet. Oh my God, thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. Thank-you. Thanks."

And that about sums it up. If we can get beyond our own ruination, or our own self-absorption with being so loved, we can get to a place of wonder and awe. "Revelation is not for the faint of heart;" that much is certain. I know I struggle often with lack of courage, discouragement, fear, my own hurt and disappointment. But when I get stuck there, I shut off the True things. And the True things- the God revealed spiritual loveliness of life, and people and situations are really, for me anyway, what keeps me going. "At such moments i would kneel and press my forehead to the ground if my right knee would not begin to sob."

 Yeah, I can so relate to Anne.


Sarah Small said...

Great review! I'm putting this on my TBR. Love Lamott's writing.

hopeinbrazil said...

Thanks for reviewing this book. Sounds like something I'd like.