- Series: Plus
- Paperback: 226 pages
- Publisher: HarperOne (October 11, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780061144899
- ISBN-13: 978-0061144899
- ASIN: 0061144894
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 169 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions (Plus) Paperback – October 31, 2006
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“A joy to read….Honest and healing.” (Alan Jones, dean of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, and author of Soul Making)
As I read her book, Kidd became a companion. I love having her walk with me on my journey. (Eugene Peterson, author of The Message)
From the Back Cover
From the Bestselling Author of The Secret Life of Bees, an Inspiring Autobiographical Account of Personal Pain, Spiritual Awakening, and Divine Grace
Blending her own experiences with an intimate grasp of spirituality, Sue Monk Kidd relates the passionate and moving tale of her spiritual crisis, when life seemed to have lost meaning and her longing for a hasty escape from the pain yielded to a discipline of "active waiting." This PLUS edition includes a reader's guide.
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This book was written when Sue Monk Kidd was in her forties, but its lesson is one most of us have to keep learning. She had always been the "good girl," living up to everyone's expectations but chafing inside a prison of her own—and society's—making. It didn't help that she was married to a Southern Baptist minister and was trying to live up to those expectations as well. She felt frozen, stuck, and desperate—as though she had lost her way and her true self at the same time.
In the discovery of a cocoon, she finds the analogy she needs to begin working through this unhappy period. She pulls in an impressive body of Christian writings and quotations that helped her realize she was not unique in this experience and certainly not alone.
As she begins to identify with the caterpillar inside the cocoon, she stumbles on the importance of being still and waiting—or trusting that God is working in her and for her and trusting that when the time is right (and only then) will her wings unfurl and enable her to fly again.
If the analogy seems at times a bit simplistic and pat, the author did a beautiful job of making her case with deeply felt logic and rich references and reminders that there are things in the life of the soul that just can't be rushed.
"Nothing can be more useful to a man than a determination not to be hurried." (Henry David Thoreau)
She recalls a retreat to a monastery, when she asked a monk how he could sit so still and be so patient with doing nothing. "I hope you'll hear what I'm about to tell you," he replied. "I hope you'll hear it all the way down to your toes. When you're waiting, you're not doing nothing. You're doing the most important something there is. You're allowing the your soul to grow up. If you can't be still and wait, you can't become what God created you to be."
Wow...I found that very profound. In fact, I found many soul-nourishing insights and have added many authors she quoted to my To Read or To Re-Read list: Thomas Merton, Carl Jung, St. Teresa of Avila, Henri Nouwen, Meister Eckhart and others.
Some of the lines I highlighted will give you a better sense of the book's message:
"...lots of times we need questions more than answers."
"She had come upon the 'epiphany' buried in her crisis."
A crisis is a holy summons to cross a threshold."
"Jung once pointed out that religion can easily become a defense against an experience of God."
"We have within us a deep longing to grow and become a new creature, but we possess an equally strong compulsion to remain the same—to burrow down in our safe, secure places."
"If we're to wait, we must relearn the extravagance of grace."
"The point of the spiritual life is that you dance the music God pipes in you."
"The spiritual journey is one of becoming real."
This book was a treasure trove of truth and wisdom. The trick, of course, is learning to apply the lessons in my real life.
A spiritual crisis, something sounding dreadfully unsettling, in fact brought forth fruit she never imagined. As a caterpillar succumbs to the death and darkness of a cocoon, Kidd experienced her own kind of night, where transformation was woven into the secret places of the heart. This crisis, though terribly painful and disorienting, provided an opportunity for a newness to birth that she didn't even know existed.
I highly recommend this masterpiece for anybody who is curious about the different aspects of God's character amongst the busyness of life. As someone reaching midlife, I plan to read through the book again, this time with a journal nearby and with the intent of letting God lead me along the same kind of journey.