Friday, March 2, 2012

The gift of "Still"

Early in February, RevGals posted about a giveaway of a new book, "Still" by Lauren Winner. And somehow, I didn't see the post. Thankfully, I noticed a "reminder" on facebook and was able to get in just under the wire and get a copy of the book. I'm all about new books, especially free books so I was super-excited. I figured this would be a nice addition to my lenten observation.

I got my book on Friday the 24th. It wasn't until I had the physical book in my hand that I saw, under the author's name, "author of Girl Meets God" and I literally did a little happy dance in my kitchen! That was definitely one of my favorite books in college (I think i got it within a week of its release) and I fell in love with the book and the author because I felt such a kinship with Lauren. In fact, it was because of reading Girl Meets God that I decided that I needed to read the Mitford books by Jan Karon (which also became favorites!)

As I went to Vanderbilt I sort of forgot about Girl Meets God and my imagined friendship with the amazing Lauren Winner, but not about important parts of what I read. Every single lent, I think about how she gave up books one year, and how I keep thinking one day I'll be able to make that stretch but I haven't been able to do it yet. In spite of my "forgetting" there's always been a little part of my brain and my soul that felt that, even though our backgrounds and experiences were different, there was someone somewhere who understood me and my story! After we renovated our basement and I got to unpacking lots of my books, I found my copy of Girl Meets God and it was a much-needed reminder of all of these things.

Anywho, back to Still ... I got the book and was doing my little happy dance. I actually almost cried when I saw the note that came in the envelope with the book. It was drawn with a sharpie on copy paper and looked exactly like something I would do. It said, very simply, "Thank you for your ministry and your interest in Still." That was it, but just that simple "thank you" was incredibly nourishing to me. I needed that right now. The book sat on my kitchen table for the whole weekend because of Jeff's birthday and the fact that we were gone. I finally sat down with it on Sunday night.

I started to not write in it - my name or notes or lines or anything, but as soon as I turned the page and saw that it was autographed, I knew it wasn't going anywhere and picked up my pen. I started underlining in the preface, and when I got to the end I found myself not just making a note, but journaling a paragraph IN MY BOOK! That's not anything I normally do, but I did it this time. This is what I wrote...
I want to skip ahead to section three. So much of me knows, instinctively, the first two because they are my story up until recently. In many ways, they are like a wound I know has begun to heal (and heal well) but which I am still afraid to fce. But face it I must. So here goes. I'm ripping off the bandage and taking a peek...

That first night, I read the entire first section. I was engaged and in love. Yet, after an hour and forty-five minutes of reading and absorbing and reflecting, I was utterly exhausted. Monday I read some more. Again, as much as I loved it, it was exhausting and after an hour I needed a nap. As much as I would love to fly through this book, and as amazing as it is, it isn't really a "fly through" kind of book. Maybe this is just my opinion, but if you can and do fly through it, you are missing something pretty major. I'm still working on it, and I'm looking forward to the experiences and understandings that I know are yet to come.

One of these days I want to meet the amazing Ms. Winner. As much as I would like to eloquently thank her for her books and what they have meant to me, I know deep down I would probably only babble like a star-struck idiot or burst into tears and hug her (or a horribly embarrassing combination of the two!)

But yeah, "Still" is an amazing book and you should read it! I would say you could borrow my copy, but it may be a while...

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