Heartbreak and Shipwreck for The Mudroom
I used to fear I wouldn’t survive one more dirty trick. But now, at 39, I know I can, and do, and will survive. I’ve endured much physical and emotional pain. I’m stronger than I ever imagined. And that’s when it hits me. It’s my own strength that scares me now. I realize I have a capacity for suffering. It’s an ugly, brute thing—not the stuff of pretty inspirational memes—but I can take it. I survive. This is what I do. Perhaps it’s even my gift.
A Lost Road to God for Busted Halo
C.S. Lewis said that true friends do not gaze at each other; “their eyes look ahead.” For him, friendship is not an accident of proximity; it must be “about” something. What distinguishes my friendship with Amy from other relationships in my life is that it’s “about” God. We had hunted for God independently our whole lives — in churches, theology, literature — and before long we realized we experienced God’s presence most profoundly when we came together. We continue to stalk him.
On Friendship for Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics
If Ruth and Naomi are any indication, women’s souls have endured the strains of tight and durable knots since time immemorial. In fact, a landmark study at UCLA confirmed what women have always known: we are hardwired for friendship. In addition to the typical “fight or flight” response to stress all people have, research suggests that women alone have an alternative “tend and befriend” response. In difficult times, women seek out other women. Friendship reduces our stress levels and, the authors of the study posit, accounts for longer life spans in women.
Grendel: A Book That Helped Me Grow for Random Acts of Momness
“I’d been kicked out of every club, demoted to remedial classes, and disinvited from the National Honor Society. But when Brandon gave me those books—telling me he knew I was good enough to be at New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, a prestigious program for gifted high school writers, too—I felt like trying again. So I started reading. It was a sizable stack of challenging work, including John Gardner’s Grendel.”
“I started collecting books about homeschooling before my daughter’s first birthday. I imagined she and I would spend our days in the beautiful library at the college where my husband worked, reading on blankets in the fields, playing in the surrounding Virginia countryside, pressing flowers into nature journals. It’s hard for me even to remember when I could have been so idealistic about so many things at once—my own patience as a mother, my capacity for spending so much of my time with children, my daughter’s capacity for living in a previous century.”
Friends Share Spiritual Journey through Letters by Maryann Eidemmiler for Our Sunday Visitor
“In such a profound way, our spiritual lives are very tied to our letter writing practice, for better or for worse. When we are not writing letters, I feel very disconnected. It’s very important to our spiritual lives and it’s still a needed connection. It has never since matched the intensity of the period that the book represented, and maybe that’s just because of life with small children. When I look back at them [the letters] in this book form, it’s very clear that we were on a path that was laid for us.”