Saturday, April 26, 2008

Anne Lamott

Several weeks ago, I went to hear Anne Lamott read from her latest book. (It just came out in paperback, so she was on tour.) It's the third in her trilogy of spiritual autobiographies. It's called "Grace Eventually." The first two in the trilogy are "Traveling Mercies" and "Plan B." They are all richly personal, raw, thoughtful, insightful, provoking, wicked funny and wise. I recommend them highly. (Traveling Mercies is my fav.)

Here is one of Anne's professional pictures. You can tell she's wise, right?
Here is the picture I took at the event. You get the idea.
The event was originally scheduled to be at the auditorium at the Dallas Museum of Art. Since Anne Lamott is so brilliant, the demand for tickets quickly exceeded the space in the auditorium and they moved the event to a big downtown church. (The fact that the tickets were free may have also had an effect. Yeah for free tickets!)

There were lovely stained glass windows.
And lots of people. I posted this picture because the guy in the foreground looks like my Uncle Tim and the gal turning around a few pews ahead looks like my Aunt Diane. Right, Joanna? They are both free spirits, I think they would have liked to hear Anne read.

It's taken me a long time to write about this event and my thoughts about it. I have never lived in a place where people talk so often and so freely about their thoughts on faith. I generally assume that they think that I agree with what they believe. It might not be fair for me to make that assumption about them. I could be wrong. Or maybe they are wrong.

But, that's ok. I've generally decided that my faith is personal and private. At this point in my life, I don't feel called to defend myself or more importantly, to waste energy getting into judgements or debates. That energy will be better spent in my own personal growth, study and development.

That said... I'll share some things that Anne said that really stuck with me.

Here's how she wraps up her thoughts on Jesus. I'm paraphrasing... "Jesus came and said, 'You are loved and chosen and if you see someone who is thirsty, could you help me out and give them some water.'"

She also said that the opposite of faith is not doubt, it's certainty.

She told stories about several super brave things she did last year including getting a tattoo. She chose words from the gospel of "The West Wing." In a scene where President Bartlett is talking with military leaders about how to save a submarine that was in trouble, he said, "Trust the Captain. Trust the Crew." So, that's what Anne had inked on her leg.

Trust the Captain. Trust the Crew.

She also said that sometimes it's really important to LET GO. And then she said, "Everything I ever let go of has claw marks on it." Hmmm.
What do I have my claws stuck in?

Check your local library, I'd love to hear what you think of Anne's books.


Mary Ann Littlejohn said...

Anne Lamott is one of my favorite authors. I highly recommend her Bird by Bird for those of us who are engaged in the creative process. The subject of this book is creative writing, but it works in most all areas of life.

Every new mother would like Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year.

She expresses those crazy thoughts that we all (I think) have running around in our heads and think nobody else is that crazy.

I'm happy you shared this because I went to my bookshelf and discovered I have two of her books I haven't yet read.

Joanna Stein said...

How funny to see faux Tim and Diane!

Cathy said...

I'm jealous....she's one of my favorites. I love her writing. It would have been so awesome to hear her speak.

Julie Zaccone Stiller said...

She's a terrific author, one of my faves. The way she talks about faith helps me make sense of what I see some people doing in the world. If you didn't catch it, check out her appearance on The Colbert Report, really funny, they're both Sunday school teachers, who knew?!.