Book Recommendations · Pause · word of the year

PAUSE: Hallelujah Anyway

I love it when what I’m reading happens to be in line with the things I’m thinking about. Isn’t it funny how that happens? It’s like when you learn a new word: all of a sudden you see and hear it everywhere. Was it always there and I’m just now noticing? What else am I missing that’s right in front of me?

I first learned about Hallelujah Anyway from Laila at the Big Reading Life – thanks Laila! – and added it to my overdrive wish list right away. It’s a series of essays written by the quirky, funny, and always inspiring Anne Lamott. I was looking for something to read on my kindle while I nursed the baby and decided that it was time to check this one out.

These essays focus a lot on religion – specifically Christianity and the Bible. I’m not religious and was a bit wary at first, but decided to just drop my guard and listen to what the woman has to say. I’m so glad that I did.

Her first essay really set the tone – she stated up front what she believes our purpose in life should be: to find justice, show mercy, and live with humility. The following essays all played into her thesis. She had supporting evidence from the Bible and I have to say that this agnostic agreed with her arguments.

If you’ve ever read Lamott, then you know that she’s funny and self-deprecating. I think most of us are just as self-deprecating as she is, we just don’t realize it and can’t reframe it in the silly ways that she can. But she grants herself so much mercy for her flaws that she can laugh about them, find the context, and assure herself that she’s not an awful person. All of these horrible feelings that we have about ourselves and others? It’s just human nature. It’s who we are and how we managed to survive our weird childhoods – because everyone’s was weird in one way or another.

Lamott’s willingness to show herself such grace is inspiring. Here’s what I’m going to try to do: when I start noticing all of this ridiculous self-talk, then I’m going to PAUSE. Take a deep breath. Remind myself that I’m alive. My children are alive. We are all doing the very best we can. And if we’re not doing the best we can, that’s okay. I can only control myself and can immediately decide to do better. It’s never too late.

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