Reading an Anne Lamott book is like chatting with an old friend. I mean a real friend. Someone you can be truly open and honest with, not having to engage in religious pretense.
I’ve read a lot over the past 10 years that has offered me a new, broader, better and, I believe, more “Christlike” approach to life. I, of course, know there is always more to learn, but I thought my values, my beliefs, and my theology had been challenged, changed and stretched about as far as they could go.
I was wrong.
There are many good stories and insights in “Grace (Eventually),” but there were a couple of chapters that really invited me to address even more of my preconceived ideologies. I won’t go into what those chapters involved. I’d rather you read the book, and see what challenges you.
Anne is amazingly open about her life. She’s not the type you could threaten with the skeletons in her closet. She has plenty of skeletons, mind you. They’re just not buried away behind the coats and jackets. Instead, we read of a real person in the real world, living out real faith in Christ; worts and all. Just like the people in the Bible. I know, first hand, the freedom in bringing all your skeletons into the sunlight. Like Anne, I have more than my share of them, but no one can use them against me if I don’t try to hide them.
She speaks of her alcoholism. She talks of her “binge or diet” issues. Her continual battle with jealousy.
Her temper many times gets the best of her.
Some would say she needs to be “set free.” But freedom, in that sense, isn’t an event. It’s a life walk.
She reveals, often, the joys and struggles of single parenthood, and a number of stories involve her son, Sam.
There’s a story of her having to deal with a carpet sales person. He is less that honest. Less than honorable.
The end of the story isn’t what you might expect, but there is a good lesson for all to learn.
There is so much packed into these pages. So many other life-lessons. There is delicious humor, almost cover to cover. Yet, I found some of the “heaviest” reading I’ve ever encountered. Lessons about dealing with death, working through pain, and, yes, victory in life. Not the kind of “victory” we were taught back in the 70’s. No, this is a much deeper victory. The victory of learning to live through one’s own selfishness and baggage. Of learning that it’s “not all about you.” This is the victory of grace. The music of grace.
Grace for others, and even grace for yourself.
Buy the book HERE.
“She observes her world with honed humor-and without a whiff of deceit or concealment. … This is a Christian even an atheist could still respect in the morning.” – The Seattle Times
What makes Lamott’s writing powerful isn’t her unconventional faith. Rather, it’s the profound message about God’s grace and redemption often lurking underneath all the…brutal honesty.” -Chicago Sun-Times
“Lamott’s self-deprecating stories are refreshingly frank and endearingly fun.” -Washington Post
“There’s no one quite like Anne Lamott. … She manages to suggest that she’s your ally, the funny best friend who knows instinctively that you’ve had these troubles, too. And perhaps that’s why readers continue to find something fresh in everything she has to say.” – LA Times
Some Quotes From “Grace (Eventually)”
“We chewed gum together and listened to the classical station: instant church.”
“I don’t hate anyone right now, not even George W. Bush…I learned how to unhate Bush the only way people ever really learn things—by doing. It’s a terrible system. If I were God, I would have provided a much easier way—an Idiot’s Guide, or a spiritual ATM, or maybe some kind of compromise.”
“It is hard to remember that you are a cherished spiritual being when you’re burping up apple fritters and Cheetos.”
“My secular father’s only strong spiritual directive: Don’t be an asshole, and make sure everybody eats.”
“You can get the monkey off your back, but the circus never leaves town”
“Joy is the best makeup. Joy, and good lighting.”
“Sometimes I act just as juvenile as I ever did, but as I get older, I do it for shorter periods of time. I find my way back to the path sooner, where there is always one last resort: get a glass of water and call a friend.”
“I have to believe that Jesus prefers honesty to anything else.”
“In truth, everyone is loved and chosen, even Dick Cheney, even Saddam Hussein…God loves them because God loves.”
“God sent Jesus to join the human experience, which means to make a lot of mistakes. Jesus didn’t arrive here knowing how to walk. He had fingers and toes, confusion, sexual feelings, crazy human internal processes. He had the same prejudices as the rest of his tribe: he had to learn that the Canaanite woman was a person. He had to suffer the hardships and tedium and setbacks of being a regular person. If he hadn’t the incarnation would mean nothing.”
“Never give the devil a ride. Because if he likes the ride, pretty soon he’ll want to drive.”
“Every moment you are freely given the opportunity to see through a different pair of glasses.”
“There [are] also the “pro-life” matters of capital punishment and the war in Iraq, poverty, and HIV.”
“Sober people taught me that a willingness to help clean up the mess we’ve made is a crucial part of adult living; that our scary, selfish, damaging behavior litters the planet.”
“You want to know how big God’s love is? The answer is: It’s very big. It’s bigger than you’re comfortable with.”
“And I realized once again that we’re punished not for our hatred, for not forgiving people, but by it.”
“If you have an idea after ten p.m., it is probably not a good idea.
“I prayed, the great Helping Prayer, which goes: “Helphelphelphelp. Helphelphelphelp.”