I’ve been listening to Almost Everything: Notes on Hope by Anne Lamott for the last week in my car; driving to work, driving to the mountains and the many trips to find a second dog to adopt. The audio book is only three discs and I’ve listened to the entire book three times as of this writing. I just love her, and her words make me laugh at the absurdity of living in this world; and at the same time nod my head and say amen.
But what happens to me when I Iisten to her over and over is that when I start to write, some of her words spill onto my page.
Such as today as I was writing in my journal about some interactions I had earlier, and in the past, and when I looked back on them I knew I was behaving badly. I felt justified at the time, saying and doing what I said and did, but as I wrote I knew it wasn’t the best way to act. It reminded me of Anne reading from Notes on Hope saying that there are times that she knows she is feeling righteous and arrogant. She knows that she is wrong. But then she apologizes, prays, gives to the poor and calls a friend. I feel that way too, looking back at things I’ve said in the past – I feel badly about my behavior. I’m going to try not to do it again. I will pray a lot. And I will, apologize. And I will give back by giving blood.
Anne just makes me feel better. I will listen to her book a few more times before returning it to the library. For now, I’ll just finish up this post with a few quotes from her other books that help me when I feel sad and unworthy. But they also remind me that I have so many great things in my life: primarily my friends. Being a friend is my saving grace.
“It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools – friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said ‘do the best you can with these, they will have to do’. And mostly, against all odds, they do.”
― Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
“I’m as scared and angry as everyone else, but one of the blessings of being a little bit older is that being scared and angry doesn’t last as long. And you don’t always remember why you are scared and angry.”
“Almost every facet of my meager maturation and spiritual understanding has sprung from hurt, loss, and disaster.”
Yes Anne, this is what you do for me:
“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.” – Anne Lamott