As a general rule I try to avoid books with numbers in the title. I also, however, like to read buzz books – I like to know what all the buzz is about and am a firm believer that I cannot make any sort of judgement on a book without knowing for myself what it says.
For this reason, I picked up a book recently that I had seen making a appearances on quite a few of the blogs that I follow…and with it – lists.
243. Clean sheets smelling like wind
244. Hot oatmeal tasting like home
245. Bare toes in early light
I found it helped diving into this book knowing that Voskamp is a writer for DaySpring (the christian line of Hallmark). Her genre is poetic and whimsical and completely unlike most of what I read.
I didn’t just pick this book up however because there is buzz surrounding it. If you have read my blog throughout the winter you might have noticed that I have been going through a rough time. The winter has left wounds and scars which will take time to heal. Call it transition, call it the weather: I sunk to a place I don’t often visit.
The most despised line that was delivered during this bleak time was, “you’ll be stronger when it is all over.” Well guess what. I knew it was entirely possible that I would not be stronger but rather more bitter, resentful and cold. I’ve seen it. I have seen women who walk through life, dragging their bitter baggage.
So last friday, after I handed over the keys to my once home, I decided to take an intermission. Some would say we are starting a new chapter, well…first, I would like to take an intermission.
For the next few months, I will relinquish control, I will abolish the expectations that I hold myself to, let live and do things that are completely out of character: like read a book with a number in the title written by someone who writes sympathy cards for living (I don’t know if she actually does that). At least it doesn’t say “self-help” on the back.
Anyway, in the book Voskamp (her name is Anne: it sounds more suited to the subject) describes her desire for a full life and in studying the eucharist discovers that at the heart of the breaking of the bread, there is joy, grace and thanksgiving.
“I would never experience the fullness of my salvation until I expressed the fullness of my thanks in every day, and eucharisteo is elemental to living the saved life.”
And thus begins her lists. She reasons that to name something is to give it meaning and so she puts words to the blessings she sees in her everyday life.
I balked at the idea of making such a list but thought it might be a good…stretching exercise anyway. I read through the first three chapters, skeptical, and closed until it occurred to me, just today, what she was doing. She was artistically personalizing what she knew to be true in a language that made sense to her….hmmmm, that wasn’t very clear….
I, personally, probably would not create such a list: I might if I was desperate. I use words, but differently. There are some who can speak romance into a pile of dog poo, I however, cannot. While I use words to express myself, I would not be true to myself if I romanticized poo. I see beauty in words, but real, true words that accurately represent their subject.
Through the lens however….
I find it easier to see beauty through a lens. A photograph is an image representing exactly what I see….and what I see is beautiful. Take this post for example. It’s the one the started it all.
That is all Anne is doing.
For fear of commitment, I will merely suggest that I might just try to make my list. 1000 gifts. Photographic documentary style… Starting with #1.