Saturday, September 06, 2008

Your heart is not a stone

Here If You Need Me
a true story by Kate Braestrup

I picked up mom and headed off to town for Friday morning errands. Among other things on my to-do list, I wanted to pick up the book that I had been notified was waiting for me. Thanks to the library loan program less than a week would go by since first reading it's introduction and the time it would take to arrive at the Bangor Public library from the University of Maine Augusta library.
From The Manharts blog:
Here if You Need Me: My favorite of the non-fiction. A story of a woman who went to seminary after her husband was tragically killed and then became the chaplain for the Maine Warden Service. For a spiritually searching girl like me, it was perfect. I am consciously stopping myself here from going on and on and on and on. Her voice is one the bravest, clearest, and (sometimes) funniest I've read in a while. I HIGHLY recommend it.
Shared by a friend Stephani now calls Emilie, but stubbornly remains Mrs in my mind. The wonderfully giving Creative writing/English teacher that helped my then 16 year old daughter through some very rough early high school daze.

I'm not sure why this book from a summer reading list jumped out at me as the one I would most like to read. For the last 7 years I have tended towards the "scary and alarming" government tell-all books our current administration has spawned with all too frequent necessity. Change can't come soon enough and I pray for our country's soul. Literally prayed on several occasions now. Even though I consider myself Spiritual rather than Religious.

On the way home from mornings errands, and having read a few pages in waiting, I questioned once again if praying for a presidential choice was proper use of spiritual aids. This time out loud and in front of mom as I was about to drop her off at home with her groceries & medications.

We discussed the Palin Effect and wondered if our gender would be so foolish as to vote this option simply because she would be woman. Not a woman who stands for nearly anything in this world I want for my daughters. Their future choices are their own.

Mom allowed that in these times, perhaps more than ever, a little prayer couldn't hurt. May in fact be needed.
I began reading after lunch with dedicated determination. On the deck in the warmth of a sunny afternoon. My eyes teared up almost from the beginning and at one point I put it down, wondering. Will this be too sad?

Another time it was put down to call the fire department. Is that smoke I smell again! A really bad fire was burning in Hermon and thankfully not a repeat of earlier this summer. Our local fire department volunteer drove around the block to check. Just to be sure.

The last page was turned at about 4 am.
I read About the Author. Again.
And closed the book.
And then lay my head in my arms on the kitchen table and sobbed a few of the tears that had been building within me through out the reading.

It is an amazing book. Come to me at perhaps the perfect time.
Searching for answers. Not always sure of the question.
In the 25 years without my sister I can usually tell when I'm in for a good cry. It builds up as if the tears are in my head and my heart and they will surely soon burst out for the cleansing of my spirit I've come to accept as good for me. I thought I might make it to the cemetery before the flood. But it was not to be.
Go ahead. Arrange and rearrange the stones on your beloved's grave. Keep arranging those stones for as long as it hurts to do it, then stop, just before you really want to.
Put the last stone on and walk away.
Then light your candles for the living. Say your prayers for the living. Give your flowers to the living. Leave the stones where they are, but take your heart with you. Your heart is not a stone.

Thank you, Emilie.


Emilie said...

I'm so touched that you read that blog post,that you trusted my recommendation, and that the book meant so much to you. I can relate to so many things you said and ways that you felt that I wanted to drive right over and have tea. Many many thanks for your support.

I also think you will love "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver if you haven't read it. It's not sad, just inspring. Promise.


Emilie said...

okay, two more things. more fuel for your fire:
(jon stewart posted on my good friend's blog)

and, yes, please pray.