I am one of those overeducated library types who might be expected to look down her nose at self-help books – but the whole bookstore is a self-help section to me. When something needs to be fixed, when I need something to change, my first and abiding instinct is to read. I think I can read my way to a solution. Or at least an evasion.
Still, p. 23
This is exactly what I do. This is exactly what I have done in finding Still, although it is a searching for some kind of navigation, or way forward, or even just understanding, on this occasion, rather than an avoidance tactic.
The title’s tag line – notes on a mid-faith crisis - is what attracts me. I wonder if Ms Winner and I can compare notes. Maybe she has found some wisdom she can pass on to me.
The whole book is like a conversation with a friend really. Someone who isn’t exactly in the same shoes as you, but whose life is similar enough that they get how you feel. I love the honesty and humility and the patchwork of inspiration she draws from other writers. In reading, I am reminded of how powerful it can be to invite someone else into your own story.
Winner does this beautifully on many occasions, and I leave you with the quote which resonated with me the most:
I am sitting on a bench in a museum. The museum is a five-minute walk from my office, and I come here often, to be spelled in the middle of the day by thirty minutes of silence… In my lap, the Bible is open to the fifth chapter of Luke, one of Jesus’ healings… the story ends with Luke’s telling us that Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray. A little like escaping to the quiet of a museum, I think. What can it mean for a place to be lonely?
A place, lonely like Jesus? Lonely like me?
Maybe I can make my loneliness into an invitation – to Jesus – that he might withdraw into me and pray.
Still, p. 141