Today’s the last day blogging through Soul Bare. I’ve never blogged through a book before, and I discovered two benefits: I finished the book and I got back into the practice of blogging. Soul Bare was
idea and she spent a couple of years putting it together and trying to get it published. She says that now that the book is finally out in the world, she believes it’s exactly what it’s supposed to be.
Because the intent of the book was for the writers to share something personal, you end up getting a sense of the author. It’s like having a long visit with a group of 31 people where you got to spend time with each one. There are a few standouts for me. Some stand out because of their writing, and others stand out because of their story.
Cara’s chapter was a perfect way to end the book. Her writing is great, but it’s her story and perspective that stand out to me. She has been through a lot and that always give people this dimension that makes them more beautiful. I was sitting in my living room reading Cara’s chapter last night when I called out to my husband, “Hey, listen to this…” and began to read:
“I was fourteen when I met Jesus at a Christian summer camp. It was the year I’d started secretly cutting myself with a rusty X-Acto knife after sneaking shots of vodka from the jug in our cupboard. It was the year I’d kept myself distracted enough to numb the boredom of my after-school janitor job by carefully plotting the details of my suicide while I vacuumed junior high classrooms” (page 193).
Becoming a Christian didn’t magically make all of Cara’s issues go away. She says, “Some of us have wounds that survived the baptismal waters” (page 194). She recognizes the hole on the Christian bookstore shelves where discussions beyond the shiny religious veneer should be. People in the faith community think that if you have enough faith, then your life will fall into a neat pattern. That’s why I became a Christian at 19, I wanted all of my life prior to disappear so I could start over. But, that’s not how it works.
“But, I have never found redemption to work with the simple math that has always seemed suggestive of the Christian life, the formula written on my notebook during one high school retreat by a well-meaning youth pastor: You + Jesus = Enough” (page 194-195).
If you deny the pain, you deny God in the pain.