on March 9, 2014
Anne Lamott is a unique-styled writer who focuses more on expression than precision and in doing so, you can feel her heart poured out on the page and still hear its pounding. In the reading, there is laughter both from joy and from her refreshing frankness and freshness, as well as beautiful recognition of life and ourselves in her experiences, insights and metaphors. Her writing expresses the passion and pain in life, with the ever-present belief in the great balm of Love and connection to the mysterious, loving creator in all of us. She weaves funny, blatant or pained speech (that you can feel are all truthful from her experience) with absolutely piercing-poetic writing, and the combination touches your heart and is a tonic for the soul.
She focuses and expands on three prayers we reach out to God with of Help, Thanks and Wow. The final chapter is on Amen. This book helped me see the importance of little prayers, big prayers, frustrated prayers, angry prayers, thankful prayers, awe-inspired heart-bursts, wordless prayers expressed in tears, wonderment in your gut from glories seen with your eyes or in your heart. All prayers. Prayers are the expression and connection to our Creator and each one is an action of faith that we are at least heard. Others carry an awareness that we see and are seen, know and are known, loved and loving, connected, in relationship with God. There is beauty and power in all of our prayers.
This book would be one to give or suggest to atheist or agnostic friends or to keep handy in times of crisis for ourselves because it’s entirely without the pretense of knowing all of the answers. It looks squarely at the mess and confusion of life and of ourselves, the unanswered why’s that will always be there, and instead of trying to explain away in any combination of pat answers that leave one in the end reaching but unsatisfied, she reminds that there is always, always still exquisite beauty, awe, revelations and regenerations in life, in Love. I’ve often thought that one of the problems with religion is actually the attempt to have all the answers, each and every one, which of course fails miserably and is full of contradictions, instead of being content in the Mystery. This book, her writing revels in the Mystery and in the Glory of Love. The prayers that we send to our Creator are a beautiful connection to Love, to Life-Source, to the One, where all answers reside. We have and receive answers and miracles that we need, being part and connected to the One, though the answers may often appear differently than we expect. And even in confusion and feeling like some answers are incomplete, in prayer there is connection to what is whole and complete—God, and a reminder that somehow, we and life are whole and complete too. In the sometimes heartbreaking tragedies and complexity of life and relationships, in the violence and pain in the world, in our own stumbles and foibles, in the often repeated mistakes and awkwardness, there is grace, growth, magnificence-there is God-for us, in us. And the Love-connection in prayer is always there. Amen.
Sometimes after I read a book and there’s been a little more time to digest, the lessons I need come right to the surface and make themselves clear and known. So, I’d like to share and expand a bit more on the review. Anne Lamott says in the book, “God can handle honesty.” I’d add God can not only handle honesty, but absolutely loves it! In honesty, we are connected to Love and in Love, we can receive truth. Because sometimes what we think or feel isn’t the truth at all, but the truth is that we are thinking or feeling that thought or emotion. Share it with Love and Love will show us the way, love us in the sharing, wherever we’re at. Prayer with God is a place where we have the privilege of “getting real-really real”.
After reading this book, I noticed that sometimes I was preparing to pray or delaying connection with Love because I felt unworthy in my energy…As if God was a friend I wanted to call, but because of a funky mood or too heavy of stuff going on, I delayed the call, not wanting to bring them down. Now I see that God is the open line in our lives, back and forth communication, for every circumstance, every mood. We can’t be too mad, too distracted, discouraged, frustrated, disbelieving, too out of touch to pray. God wants to hear from us especially then! This is the time to jump back into Love, back into dialogue, back into the Loving energy and then stay swimming in its precious freedom and connection.
Love is the only place that there is true freedom–all of the Love is in Love, in us, in the whole. And all truth and answers and goodness and infinite combinations of Love reside within Love, so there’s no place to prepare for Love. Love is where it’s all at. Just dive right back in. If you’ve been out of the loving energy for two days, you don’t need two days to get back in! Slipping out of Love and all the positivity and truths and beautiful things within it can be a slow unconscious process. But–the holy instant there’s a recognition that you are out of it-jump right back in! Don’t let the negative, untrue energy you are mixed up in tell you there’s anything from preventing you from returning wholly, fully and instantly back into your true self and connection to God in Love. The ego can try to make us feel guilty for being out of Love and use it to say, “Well, you’ve been bad, you can’t jump into Love just now. You did it again, so Love won’t take you back so fast and besides you don’t deserve it because you failed the spirituality test again. You don’t love God enough. You’re not good. God is pissed at you–you don’t deserve all the joy in Love because you didn’t value it or you would’ve stayed in it.” Or the ego might even say, “You need to stay in this energy a bit more in order to do what you need to do.” All these lies just prevent people from jumping back in right away to the Love that refreshes and loves us and always lends a hand. We don’t need to do anything but start talking to Love! We don’t need to patch up our energy before praying because the only healing, lifting and transforming energy is within the whole of Love! We don’t have to be perfect or believe perfectly or try to know all the answers before connecting because Love is where all the Love and the answers we need reside! Love is everything. We won’t know all the answers in this lifetime to all the questions, but we can know what we need to know, we can experience the whole that we are a part of and one with and thus experience and know ourselves to be whole and loved and free. Love is where all of the healing and remedies are for each of us. It’s our freedom.
Prayer is a constant dialogue as we swim within Love. We don’t even need to use the word prayer as the word itself represents connection, and within that connection, so many unnameable and beautiful things. God can handle and wants our true expressions, and in Love, we find truth. We are whole, we are ourselves, we are free.