Monday, January 25, 2016

"Spiritual Misfit: A Memoir of Uneasy Faith" by Michelle DeRusha

  This book took me a while to get through...not long by normal people standards, but much longer than other books normally take me... and I have such mixed feelings about it.  First of all,  I just couldn't seem to catch the flow or connect with the author has I was reading it.  I'd read a few pages, put it down, return hour later and repeat the process. But  I never seemed to hit that moment when it all clicked and I just couldn't (or didn't want to) escape from the authors world.  Yet, after I finally finished it,  as I looked back over the things I underlined or the parts that seemingly stood out to me,  I realized that there were in fact so many moments throughout the story where for at least a moment I did connect and where I felt like I could have written similar words myself. 
   I found myself clinging to the authors ideas that the beauty of faith is that "when all else fails, when you lose control and hit the bottom, when everything you thought was true vanishes, when everything you depended on evaporates, you still have God" and also that "God condones wrestling, even encourages it, because the struggle is a catalyst for transformation".
  I took comfort in her reminder that "many of the people in the Bible, including the disciples themselves, turned out to be ordinary humans... flawed, fallible, and struggling.  Yet through those ordinary people and despite their many imperfections, God accomplished great things", which is something I know (or at least have heard before), but need to be reminded of constantly.
  I stood there beside her taking in an deep breath of awe as I began once again to relax into the belief that "I (don't) need to impress God with perfect words, fully articulated thoughts and catchy phrases.  God (doesn't) need me to come to him as someone else.  He (doesn't) need me to dress up my prayers in poetry or lace them with special sacred words.  He (wants) me, the rambling, bumbling, awkward me.  the misfit me".
  And I even felt the relief oozing out of the Rilke quote towards the end of the story that said to "live in the questions now (because) perhaps you will then without noticing it, one distant day, live right into the answers".  Which offers me some much needed relief at a time when I want order and understanding and seem to only be stumbling on more questions.
  How a book can offer so much connection only in retrospect makes no sense to me.  How I seemed to miss and yet still in some way grasp these nuggets of gold during my reading but really only find that true sense of encouragement from them after the fact, seems so strange.  But nonetheless those moments were there and no matter how slowly it seemed to take for them to move from my head to my heart, they did.  And thus, I am grateful to have found this story and to be able to stand, heart connected to a sister in Christ who  isn't afraid to show the good and bad, the ups and downs, the failures and successes of her faith journey.  I have so much to learn from that! 

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