You’ve been around the block a few times. You’ve read Eat, Pray, Love. So you understand what I mean if I refer to a post-divorce memoir. Oddly enough, I started a different post-divorce novel recently, called Life From Scratch. It turns out it only looked like a memoir – it was really a novel. I gave up on it, because, bless her heart, I didn’t care about the main character. The point of a divorce is not a new man, honey.
But back to the actual point. Lauren Winner has written a post-divorce memoir, a book called Still. And while I liked Eat, Pray, Love, I REALLY liked Still. I’ve decided anyone can be honest. Fewer people can be honest and funny. Only a subset of them can be those, plus have something meaningful to say. And a very tiny fraction of THOSE seem to speak from your other heart- the same personality you have, or almost have, or would have if you’d picked a different family to be born into.
The book is framed about the result of a divorce. But it rests almost comfortably in a place where there is no plot. There’s no determination to fix things, or recover, or find a new man. Or even find God. Except that Winner wishes she wanted to find God, and the book is about that time in the middle- after a strong beginning, but during the aching grey that life drags us through.
I probably can’t get much closer to my own voice than Lauren Winner. Over-educated, a reader who doesn’t mind being alone. Deeply spiritual while also a skeptic. And I read this while I am also in the midst of a Middle, a place between enthusiasms in the faith.
So, I’m not sure I would just recommend this to anyone, as I consider myself a bit.. nontraditional. But if you’re the sort of Christian who doesn’t feel as secure as those around you, or you’ve lost the voice of God, or you are stuck in a Hard Place in life, and it has carried you far from God and the approval of His cheerleaders –
You will like this book.
Later that night, I find myself thinking, maybe this is a way of inhabiting faith that is, indeed, faithful; that is generative. Maybe God has given some people belief like a pier, to stand on (and God has given those people’s steadiness to the church, to me, as a reminder, as an aid), and maybe God has given others something else: maybe God has given to some this humming sense that we know nothing, this belief and disbelief a hundred times an hour, this training in nimbleness (and maybe that is a gift to the church, too).