Emily Dickinson, that most elusive of souls. At one moment you feel like you’ve touched hearts with hers and find a kindredness, at the next you feel baffled trying to figure if she really meant that heretical thing she just said. I feel wary of many works of criticism on Emily Dickinson because they easily reduce her to her eccentricities. What I found in Kristen LeMay’s treatise I Told My Soul to Sing is a willingness to walk with Emily soul to soul allowing her to be her most brilliant, human, spiritually sensitive, yet fearlessly questioning self.
I recommend this relatively short read to not only any lover of Hopkins’ work, but anyone who wants to see Christ more clearly in the world around them as Hopkins did. I would not be surprised if he possessed this vision more clearly than anybody else in history.
Love, Henri is a collection of correspondence from the late highly respected Catholic priest, professor, and pastor Henri Nouwen. Nouwen came to me highly recommended, but I was still surprised how deeply impactful the content of mere letters could be. These are words of friendship, constructive criticism, sympathy and encouragement sent by Nouwen to address various needs in his friends and acquaintances throughout his life. I filled the pages with ink stains.
For anyone who has experienced the feeling of being abandoned by God, or the dark emptiness of unfulfilled longing for him, St. Teresa of Calcutta— who termed herself a Saint of Darkness—provides deep encouragement. Her lonely road of faith without feeling God’s touch lasted for over 10 years, presumably up to her death, but in I Loved Jesus in the Night Father Paul Murray shows us the connection between her darkness and her joy, going so far as to term this darkness not an abandonment but an outpouring of God’s presence.
I’ve always thought the famous question “If you could have lunch with anyone in the world who would it be?” was dreadful. Put me across the table from a complete stranger and expect me to have interesting things to say? No, thank you! But what if we re-phrased the question: “If you could look through the personal photographs of anyone in the world, who would you choose?” I have a lot of ideas in answer to that one, and one extraordinary author has opened her life like an album in this very way.
As I pensively wandered through a cemetery this morning, the weight of this reality surrounded me: I sit among beings awaiting resurrection. You can almost feel the longing in a graveyard, the yawning patience, the crusty waiting. Everything rests on pause, held in the drawn out sigh of dirt and decay. But then, we too, the living, await resurrection. We pilgrimage among still festering wounds and brokenness. At times we circle old patterns, are pierced by grief, or feel the internal chill of winter. Demonstrated through baptism’s dip into grave-like waters, and then the lift into new air, we have been promised fullness of life to come. But in the mean time life sometimes looks like death. Despite this reality for each one of us, somehow it is often easier to “show face” and pretend to be more healed, more whole than we are.
I never read E.B. White when I was young because I cried watching the movie of Charlotte’s Web and ran from sadness. I wish I had had the courage to accept sadness as part of the beauty of life, and I’m glad I have read E.B. White now. He is known as a wordsmith like no other, using one choice phrase to paint whole, vivid pictures. His works are fantastical, blending the impossible with the ordinary so smoothly that we might easily believe he paints the real world while we are the ones dreaming. Most importantly, he does what C.S. Lewis said the best books should do: make goodness attractive. His characters may not aggrandize wealth or change the world, but they are rich in kindness, brave in friendship, and they transform homesteads and barns into places of hope and joy.
This book did not really begin to speak to me until I went out into nature this last weekend, hiking up to Multamonah Falls in Paradise, MI and ferrying across Lake Huron to walk the clear beaches of Mackinac Island. It was there I realized how much Luci Shaw’s Thumbprint In the Clay had infiltrated my perspective.
A memoir of a journey through the silence of God. Finding a faith beyond feelings.
Sometimes my heart just throbs for meaning in ordinary living, and for God’s presence in my scheduled bustle, and my mental flurry. Doesn’t yours? I know that He is less than a gauzy veil away, but I often feel that I’ve turned a corner and lost his familiar shadow treading next to mine. In… Continue reading The God Who Meets Us In the Small Things