Water Lilies, Claude Monet (1906)
We finished up Hamlet and
Augustine's Confessions yester-
day. I woke up thinking about Anne
Lamott and her conversion story
in Traveling Mercies.
"I also took religion , in deference
to this puzzling thing inside me
that had begun to tug my sleeve from
time to time, trying to get my attention.
I've read that Augustine said that to
look for God is to find him, but I was
not looking for God, not really, at least
I didn't know I was."
Augustine wasn't either.
God was like a cat pattering behind her ,
giving her clues to His love, waiting
to be picked up. Even after
an abortion, she feels his presence
hunched in the corner of her house-
boat. She keeps the image of lily
pads as the steps of coming to faith.
Leaps. "Yet each step brought me
closer to the verdant pad of faith
on which I somehow stay afloat."
I love these sentences:
"She stepped into us, the wonderful
old worn pair of pants that is St. Andrew,
and they fit." ( her pastor)
"It was as if the people were singing in
between the notes, weeping and joyful
at the same time, and I felt like their
voices or something was rocking me in its
bosom,holding me like a scared kid, and
I opened to that feeling---it washed over
"But the church smelled wonderful, like
the air had nourishment in it or like it was
composed of these people's exhalations,
of warmth and faith and peace."
"But it was that singing that pulled me
in and split me wide open."
"I had the feeling that a cat was following
me, wanting me to pick it up, wanting me
to open the door and let it in. But I knew
what would happen: you let a cat in one
time, give it a little milk, and then it stays
There's more for Anne writes in a way that
touches you to tears and so funny that
you chuckle and even laugh! She did that
6 years ago for me when my mom was
passing away. I've always wanted to send
Anne a huge bouquet of wildflowers.
. She collided with Augustine
yesterday and wouldn't she be surprised!
San Rafael, California, 1994
Yes, I read Traveling Mercies several years ago too. I was fascinated by her (to me) unusual and fresh and honest story and the way she writes...so different from me but it is good to see how God can reach anyone who even half-listens. I was blessed by Anne Lamott's story and stretched by her spirit and honesty.
She is one of my favorite authors for her honesty.
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