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Poet and Peacemaker,
This review is from: Loving Through Heartsongs (Hardcover)
Is there anyone who doesn't know about Mattie J.T. Stepanek? He's gotten a lot of press thanks to Oprah and Jimmy Carter, Jerry Lewis and Maya Angelou and a host of others who have been touched by his poetic words, heartfelt messages of love and peace and his beautiful spirit, so filled with courage and hope.
Well, I hadn't heard of him before yesterday. If you don't know him, he is a young boy, child of a single mom, and he has a rare form of muscular dystrophy that has already claimed the lives of his three siblings.
When I did hear about him, it was with great praise, so I did some investigating. At first all the glowing praises I heard made me a little hesitant to check his work out. Sometimes Oprah just gets to me...yeah, yeah Oprah, I think, everything is sooo wonderful and it's all about spirit and love and joy, joy, joy down in my heart...wish I had a few million bucks...whatever, Oprah. I know, what a bitter, jaded way to think...I admit it...but I do think that way sometimes and I hate for people to tell me how GREAT everything is when I feel otherwise. Thankfully, something made me actually take a look at Mattie J.T. Stepanek's actual work. I was swept away in a river of emotion. I was bowled over by the beauty of his words and the power of his talent. I was deeply touched by his life and his spiritual presence. I actually bought all five of his books and read every one. Some of his poems have a delightful childish humor, some are subtle, some are blunt, some are sweet and some are so sad. All are filled with such light and hope and the deep yearning for peace, understanding and love. All have been written with a deep wish to give to others, to share with others the joy of living. I think Mattie is a Christian but his words speak past religious dogma and into the spirits of everyone, no matter what religion. His words even speak past "religion" altogether and go directly to spirit and heart. I am sometimes a jaded old sour puss but this boy's words reached me with complete ease and made me feel hopeful...no small job. This book, Loving Through Heartsongs, is his latest and the poems are more mature sounding than in some of the other books, because of course Mattie is becoming more mature, growing up and becoming more complex. His writing skills are sharpening. His meditations and his life experiences are giving more depth to his thoughts. I feel that some of the innocent simplicity of his earliest work is lost in these longer more "thoughtful" poems. There is a little more temptation on his part to chide and to instruct, but it is barely detectable. His earlier work is more from his heart and I feel that as he grows older he is beginning, as in this book, to rely more and more upon his mind. I am not saying that is a bad thing, but it does seem, to me, to be happening gradually. This is a beautiful, moving and uplifting book. I think most anyone will be able to take a great deal of good from it. I do encourage everyone to check out Mattie's other books, too. His message to humanity is enormously important and his skill as a writer is a rare thrill.