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Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith (1999)

de Anne Lamott

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4,332652,321 (4.04)64
From the bestselling author ofOperating InstructionsandBird by Birdcomes a chronicle of faith and spirituality that is at once tough, personal, affectionate, wise and very funny. With an exuberant mix of passion, insight, and humor, Anne Lamott takes us on a journey through her often troubled past to illuminate her devout but quirky walk of faith. In a narrative spiced with stories and scripture, with diatribes, laughter, and tears, Lamott tells how, against all odds, she came to believe in God and then, even more miraculously, in herself. She shows us the myriad ways in which this sustains and guides her, shining the light of faith on the darkest part of ordinary life and exposing surprising pockets of meaning and hope. Whether writing about her family or her dreadlocks, sick children or old friends, the most religious women of her church of the men she's dated, Lamott reveals the hard-won wisdom gathered along her path to connectedness and liberation.… (més)
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Es mostren 1-5 de 63 (següent | mostra-les totes)
I try to make my reviews little essays, and not like ad copy or verbal abuse, but not all of them are necessarily good. (Obviously if I knew which ones weren’t I’d take them down.) The first time I reviewed this book it was very teacher’s pet/class mascot kinda way, not like my own style as it’s developed (this was April 2020 I think), personal if committed, but just kinda fake like the majority of academics are, in a way, fake (like the majority of people are out to lunch completely…. “You know, ever since Reagan, it’s gotten a lot harder to be a poor person in America.” “Yeah.” *beat* “You know what I really need to get is, one of those really nice cheesesteaks from Guido’s….” No attempt to justify the apolitical, no rebellion, no real loyalty, just…. Wow, what a fluke, engaging with life. Let’s pretend that didn’t happen.)

And I was fake. I even mentioned the Big Name that first mentioned Anne to me, and plotted paragraphs, the whole thing. Luckily, only the Stasi can still access That review, lol.

I don’t know. I suppose the thing for me that’s important about Anne is that she’s not unlike my mom, you know, although she’s a version of my mom that has a slight infusion of my dad’s normality (though not to his near-criminal degree)—America, Christianity, being vaguely popular and accessible, and not always pretending to be wise, exotic, esoteric, more foreign than you really are. You know. But there are similarities: the natures of being alcoholic/prodigal, codependent/mommy cult, child trauma from traumatized parents, spiritual thoughts. Although I guess it’s different because my parents are both spiritual, in ways they make essentially antagonistic, and their parents were all conformist Catholics I guess, and Anne was raised by atheists and feels drawn to many different strands of spirituality, which she ultimately does not view as being fundamentally antagonistic….

I don’t want to exaggerate, but we’re usually drawn to people who are like people we know, usually our parents, right. And Anne is a good writer, in own way, her own kind of observational comedy kind of way, used for spiritual purposes. (By comedy I mean someone much broader than B movie comedy, you know. It’s basically drawing truth out of the little things.)

…. Although I have to say: the first time I read/reviewed, I thought it was a little hard to talk about, but I didn’t feel that I didn’t understand it. Now it’s more, that I’ve learned from it, but I also understand that I do not really know it that well.

…. Along a similar vein—it’s certainly not bad writing; it’s good; it’s not like, I don’t know, it’s easy even for girls and certainly for guys to trash girl’s writing, when it’s discernibly girl’s writing, especially, you know. Like it’s gotta be, I don’t know—I’m so deluded, everything’s great and everyone’s in love, and weird people are terrible because, really, ARE there weird people, really! I think it’s just you; I’m so pretty! Anne isn’t like THAT, you know; she really isn’t. And yet her writing is essentially women’s writing—letting go of thoughts about the Other Mother as forgiveness, instead of forgiveness being political and abstract, even when she Does have politics, even politics different from the Other Mother, you know. But I don’t know. I mean, I don’t experience Anne’s life since I’m not a mother or a woman or even very social or connected or anything, (the period I read People magazine and watched lots of movies was the worst time in my life; I’m starting to watch a few movies recently, but I don’t look up film person references the way I look up book references, you know, and even when I do half the time I don’t get it; the encyclopedists don’t have that physical intelligence, and neither do I, so), so I don’t know….

I guess that because of gender even people we share national religious and political culture with can kind of be an experience with the other with, you know, even when we’d like to not have that otherness there.

…. But since I can still see that it’s great, you can put me down as her Influential Male Supporter, her kind, generous overlord who only desires her sincere gratitude and unpaid service. 🤓🥸😁
  goosecap | Oct 31, 2022 |
I do not at all understand the mystery of grace--only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.

Traveling Mercies is a collection of autobiographical essays by Anne Lamott in which she explores her life without God, her road to faith, and her continuing struggle to live a life worthy of the beliefs she holds. It is not the story of her life, there are uncovered gaps that we know are there, but it is the story of her soul, and that, I would argue, is more important.

With a little touch of Erma Bombeck, and an ability to look at the ugly and petty, along with the sublime of her life, she achieves a lot in terms of inspiring without resorting to even a moment of preaching. I love her descriptions of the people she has met along her journey: her best friend, Pammy, the elderly black church member, Mary Williams, who gives her bags of dimes to help her through her broke (and sometimes broken) days; her father, whose death devastated her life, and her son, Sam, who colors it.

Some of her words seem written just for me. I lost my father and mother two months apart in 1994 and all these years later I feel the homesickness for them in ways I cannot convey to anyone:

Twenty years ago. For twenty years I have ached to go back home, when there was nobody there to whom I could return.

I believe she has tapped the code to grief, a kind of spector that comes and goes in your life, but never entirely dies away:

All those years I fell for the great palace lie that grief should be gotten over as quickly as possible and as privately. But what I've discovered since is that the lifelong fear of grief keeps us in a barren, isolated place and that only grieving can heal grief; the passage of time will lessen the acuteness, but time alone, without the direct experience of grief, will not heal it."

and,

Sometimes grief looks like narcolepsy.

But, lest you think this is a book about death or grief, I will share the following except, which will prove that this is just a book about insight, humanity, and grace.

I can't imagine anything but music that could have brought about this alchemy. Maybe it's because music is about as physical as it gets; your essential rhythm is your heartbeat; your essential sound, the breath. We're walking temples of noise, and when you add tender hearts to this mix, it somehow lets us meet in places we couldn't get to any other way.

( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
Traveling Mercies : Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott (2000)
  sharibillops | May 20, 2022 |
I like that this book is written in a memoir anecdote style.

I like that while Anne's God looks like Jesus, she understands that we all have different images of what God looks like to us so she doesn't get all preachy about it.

I love her idea about God's inbox! Writing what she's stressing out about / needs help with or an answer for down on a piece of paper and putting it in a box and waiting for God's reply! I'm going to have to test that one out.

I love her two prayers. "Help! Help! Help!" and "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"

I liked what she said about how all we need to do for someone in a crisis is show up and be there for them. She gave the example of how she and a few others came over and just started cleaning and stuff. So true. You just need someone who is not IN IT to be there with you and for you. ( )
  Jinjer | Jul 19, 2021 |
Like any collection of essays or stories, some pieces resonate more than others. But the ones that connect do so really powerfully. ( )
  RandyRasa | Jun 2, 2021 |
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From the bestselling author ofOperating InstructionsandBird by Birdcomes a chronicle of faith and spirituality that is at once tough, personal, affectionate, wise and very funny. With an exuberant mix of passion, insight, and humor, Anne Lamott takes us on a journey through her often troubled past to illuminate her devout but quirky walk of faith. In a narrative spiced with stories and scripture, with diatribes, laughter, and tears, Lamott tells how, against all odds, she came to believe in God and then, even more miraculously, in herself. She shows us the myriad ways in which this sustains and guides her, shining the light of faith on the darkest part of ordinary life and exposing surprising pockets of meaning and hope. Whether writing about her family or her dreadlocks, sick children or old friends, the most religious women of her church of the men she's dated, Lamott reveals the hard-won wisdom gathered along her path to connectedness and liberation.

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