Saturday, November 1, 2008

When the Heart Waits

The movie, "The Secret Lives of Bees" just came out, but I haven't seen it yet. I am re-reading the book (written by Sue Monk Kidd) once more before I go to see it. I have an extraordinary gift for forgetting the stories in movies I see and books I read. :-) Honestly, I can be a third of the way through a movie before I remember that I've seen it before. I can pick up a book a couple of years after originally reading it and not remember most of the story line. I think I'm fully engaged in the story when I'm reading a book or watching a movie, but after it's over, I simply close that door in my mind and move on to the next thing. I am always asking Dave, "Have I seen that?" when someone mentions a movie. Oh my, what will the future look like if I'm this forgetful now?

Anyway, I have read all of Sue Monk Kidd's books. She has written God's Joyful Surprise: Finding Yourself Loved, When the Heart Waits - Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, The Secret Lives of Bees, and The Mermaid Chair. The books were written in that order, and I am not endorsing all of her works.

I just finished reading When the Heart Waits - Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions. I had checked it out from the library, but it is one that I will be buying because I found so much that I needed to underline when I was reading it. (Note: it is not a good idea to underline in a library book! :-) There is just so much in this book that resonated with me that I don't know where to start. I thought I'd share one passage from the book in the chapter entitled, "Incubating the Darkness" to give you a taste of the richness enveloped in the pages of this book. This passage is from her journal.

August 12. Today is my birthday. It makes me think of the new life I'm incubating and the Birth-day (my note: when she emerges from the darkness) still to come. Sometimes it seems that life is a grace too severe, too vast, and too beautiful to receive. But I open my hands anyway. Today I'll talk to myself. I'll say, Accept life - the places it bleeds and the places it smiles. That's your most holy and human task. Gather up the pain and the questions and hold them like a child upon your lap. Have faith in God, in the movement of your soul. Accept what is. Accept the dark. It's okay. Just be true. I'll say to myself, You are loved. Your pain is God's pain. Go ahead and embrace the struggle and the chaos of it all, the splendor, the messiness, the wonder, the agony, the joy, the conflict. Love all of it. I'll say to myself, Remember that little flame on the.....candle. Cup your heart around it. Your darkness will become light." (page171)

This is a deep book and not to be read for sheer leisure. It required concentrated focus on my part to grasp and internalize the metaphors Sue Monk Kidd so masterfully paints, but it is a beautiful and powerful book - very much worth my time and attention. It's one that I know I will read again because, as I previously stated, I have a special gift for forgetting what I've read. Smile.

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