28 August 2011

Book, recommended

If you haven’t already read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, I think you might want to—if for no other reason than because, as she says in the afterword, “Every breath’s a battle between grudgery and gratitude and we must keep thanks on the lips so we can sip from the holy grail of joy.”

My curiosity about all the Thousand Gifts buzz was fueled when a friend of similar lifestyle and sound literary taste recommended it, overcoming my initial (and totally uninformed) skepticism that this would be the latest chick-sensation in feel-good pop psycholo-theology.

I hereby publicly repent of those suspicions. The first three pages cured me of any fears that One Thousand Gifts would be a “count your blessings and be grateful for what you have, dear,” kind of book. So what kind of book is it? It’s a theology-of-the-cross kind of book, in the skin-life of laundry, of mother-love and loss: “That suffering nourishes grace, and pain and joy are arteries of the same heart—and mourning and dancing are but movements in His unfinished symphony of beauty. Can I believe the gospel, that God is patiently transfiguring all the notes of my life into the song of His Son?” (100).

It’s been awhile now since I finished the book, and I’m still gnawing on it. I had to read it slowly, chewing all the while. Voskamp quotes everyone from Augustine to C.S. Lewis to G.K Chesterton to Annie Dilliard to Teresa of Avila… Her writing is lovely, lyrical, even haunting at times as she writes her way through the life that becomes her book (or is it vice versa?).

I’ve only hopped over to her blog a few times as yet (that trip is worth it for her photos alone). I’m not really a joiner, but I will admit that I’ve started my own List—and it’s made a difference in my life. Because there is deep truth in what Voskamp writes: “All gratitude is ultimately gratitude for Christ, all remembering a remembrance of Him. For in Him all things were created, are sustained, have their being. Thus Christ is all there is to give thanks for; Christ is all there is to remember. To know how we count on God, we count graces, but ultimately there is really only One” (155).

Yes, I think you might want to read this book.


Heather Best said...

I have visited her blog and have read her book. My favorite thing about keeping the lists of gifts to be thankful for, (other than simply being thankful), is being able to read back over those lists later and remember the sweet and funny and precious moments that have happened and are happening in my life and to KNOW without a doubt that these tiny moments really do count for something. My life is NOT insignificant even if it does at times seem mundane.
Plus, it also serves as a kind of journal of events, little tidbits of memories that I would have otherwise forgotten.

Reb. Mary said...

Heather, quite so!