Friday, May 22, 2009

Cheaper Than Therapy.



Years ago, around the time I turned sixteen, I started a journal. I went to a bookstore, picked out the most beautiful, expensive book of paper I could find, and started filling it with my favorite things: quotes, song lyrics, phrases I liked, passages that made me nod my head in agreement because they were written just so. This was not a journal is the traditional sense; there are no personal entries about things that were happening to me at the time or angst-riddled paragraphs about high school crushes or painful breakups. But these journals are among my most prized possessions, and are one of the first things I would grab were there to be a fire at my house (after my laptop. Oh, and the kids. Kids, of course.). Every time I look back through these journals I can FEEL how I felt when I first read the books that are quoted on its pages, or how I felt when I first heard the songs whose lyrics are written there. And occasionally I will fish them out of the cabinet where they live and read back through all of the years and years worth of treasures. And I will inevitably find the one perfect quote or saying for something that is maybe not so right in my life at the moment. Whether it is something to make me laugh, or to take myself a little less seriously, or just to remind me how life works sometimes, the answer is usually there in the quotes of fifty books and twenty songs and countless poems.

I happened upon these books today while the kids were napping and spent the rest of naptime laying across my bed, reading every single page once more. And I thought, wouldn't it be great if everyone had books like these, where they could turn for some advice, or comfort, or just to reminisce about their favorite books they've ever read? So here are my absolute favorite entries from my oh-so-personal journals. I would be a bit more hesitant to post these here if more than four people read this blog, but I think I'm safe there.
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"Maybe, she thought, it helps to stop longing for huge significance, meaningful new memories; maybe it helps to be satisfied instead with these little moments of connection."


"But I do believe that God is with us even when we're at our craziest and that this goodness guides, provides, protects, even in traffic."

"...grace in the theological sense, meant it as the force that infuses our lives and keeps letting us off the hook. It is unearned love- the love that goes before, that greets us on the way. It's the help you receive when you have no bright ideas left, when you are empty and desperate and have discovered that your best thinking and most charming charm have failed you. Grace is the light or electricity or juice or breeze that takes you from that isolated place and puts you with others who are as startled and embarrassed and eventually as grateful as you are to be there."

"I think I already understand about life: Pretty good, some problems."

"And traveling mercies, too. I can't help but say again what I said on the beach that day, in a whisper this time and without even being exactly sure to whom I am saying it: Thank You. Thank You. Thank You."

"Oh, nobody understands anything. We're all just here, blinking in the light like kittens. The older I get, the more I see that nothing makes sense but to try to learn true compassion."

"Sometimes I think that Jesus watches my neurotic struggles, and shakes his head and grips his forehead and starts tossing back mojitos."

"They used to be my age, and I will soon be theirs. They have never forgotten the reason to love."

"There is some comfort in that story, for the way it suggests that there is a reason for everything, even though it may not be apparent. But there is this, too: some places get to stay dry. Some places don't get hit at all. I will take my comfort there."

"And I am also, now, so acutely aware of the passage of time, how we come suddenly to our own, separate closures. It is as though a thing says, 'I told you. But you thought I was just kidding.'"


"I am thinking about the way that life can be so slippery; the way that a twelve-year-old girl looking into the mirror to count freckles reaches out toward herself and that reflection has turned into that of a woman on her wedding day, righting her veil. And how, when that bride blinks, she reopens her eyes to see a frazzled young mother trying to get lipstick on straight for the parent/teacher conference that starts in three minutes. And how after that young woman bends down to retrieve the wild-haired doll her daughter has left on the bathroom floor, she rises up to a forty-seven-year-old, looking into the mirror to count age spots."

*Disclaimer: Apparently some people have grossly overestimated my writing abilities and thought that I wrote these quotes. HA! Not so. I just didn't type out each author's name after each quote. Most of them are by one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott.

4 comments:

erin said...

Abby, I know you are a great writer now...you were a great writer back then too!! So insightful, your frankness so refreshing. Thanks for sharing. Erin

The Remers Family said...

wow! love your writing!

Stephanie Nichols said...

I read your blog... did you know that?

The Harris Family said...

I do now, haha.