08 April 2007

Grace (Eventually)

Last Tuesday night one of my favorite authors and personal heroes came to Portland--Anne Lamott. My friends Debi and Diane saved me a seat in the decaying old Baghdad theatre so I could hear her read from her new book Grace (Eventually). As I've come to expect, Annie was full of dark humor and biting wit and honesty. She talked about how she's come to discover her writing format--1500-2000 words about feeling like you don't belong on this planet and about how hard it is to be human and about the times when darkness and evil and the current political situation make you think there is no hope. And then....then, a little light sneaks in through a crack...

"Grace is that extra bit of help when you think you are really doomed; also, not coincidentally, when you have finally run out of good ideas on how to proceed, and on how better to control the people or circumstances that are frustrating or defeating you. I experience Grace as a cool ribbon of fresh air when I feel spiritually claustrophobic. Sometimes I experience it as water-wings, something holding me up when I am afraid that I'm going down, or the tide is carrying me away. I know that Grace meets us whereever we are, but does not leave us where it found us. Sometimes it is so small--a couple of seconds relief here, several extra inches there. I wish it were big and obvious, like sky-writing. Oh, well. Grace is not something I DO, or can chase down; but it is something I can receive, when I stop trying to be in charge.

We communicate grace to one another by holding space for people when they are hurt or terrified, instead of trying to fix them, or manage their emotions for them. We offer ourselves as silent companionship, or gentle listening when someone feels very alone. We get people glasses of water when they are thirsty." Anne Lamott

Go forth in grace.



6 comments:

Kris said...

I would've liked to go with you.

Lisa said...

Wow. I'm so jealous that you got to hear her. She's one of my favorites too--Hopefully I'll have time to read her new book this summer. I'd love to hear what you thought of it.

Micky said...

About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

Peace Be With You
Micky

Sarah said...

Lucky you! I love her and got lucky last week when I found my library's new copy of Grace (Eventually) on the shelf! I will read it soon...

Kris said...

Oh wow. I'm jealous. I've had her new book on my wish list since it's been out and have been checking my library faithfully with no success. I suppose I should just purchase it myself. I can add it to her others on my shelf.

Anyway, I'd love to see and hear her in person sometime. Thanks for sharing!

Kris G. said...

That was Kris G. by the way. I need to clarify since I am not the only "Kris" in your life!!

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