On New Year’s Eve night, my husband and I hosted two other couples for dinner. In my husband’s family, it has been a New Year’s Eve tradition for all dinner guests to come with a question to ask to the table, preferably one pertaining to the previous year. “What was your most awkward verbal exchange of the past year?” proved to be quite humorous, but the question that ended our night was “What will you most miss about 2013?”. Two guests remarked, with nervous laughter, that they were going to miss the substances that they were…
Reading Mary Karr’s fantastic memoir Lit, one quote in particular stuck out to me as beautifully describing a tendency we humans have to fall into more limited emotional ranges:
…anything worth doing could be undertaken later. Paint the apartment, write a book, quit booze, sure: tomorrow. Which ensures that life gets lived in miniature. In lieu of the large feelings – sorrow, fury, joy – I had their junior counterparts – anxiety, irritation, excitement.
I don’t want to read into Karr’s emotional experiences, but for me this passage elucidates the emotional life lived in times when the Law, or demand to achieve, is…
Another incredible and seasonally appropriate section from Mary Karr’s Lit, her memoir about getting sober (and many other things). Dev, it should be noted, is her son. Talk about broken vessels. We are beyond excited and honored that Mary will be joining us at our upcoming conference in NYC (4/18-20):
Prayer isn’t patching up the marriage yet, though applied to small problems from time to time, it sometimes yields up a feasible idea.
Stranded without child care once, I figure out after a prayer — it comes to me — that I could slip Chris, an ex-hooker from the [halfway] house, a…
Another wonderful section of Mary Karr’s memoir of addiction and recovery, Lit, tells of how God chose to speak profoundly to her through the mouth of a total nut (and fellow addict). Obviously the Bible offers great precedent for this kind of thing (what we like to call The Nazareth Principle), but it’s nonetheless remarkable to hear of such occurrences in more modern contexts. Of course, Alcoholics Anonymous–the subject and setting of much of the book–embodies this idea. Crazy people in AA meetings often say smart things. Balaam’s ass might as well be the movement’s mascot.
A few more excerpts from Mary Karr’s wondrously wise Lit: A Memoir, ht JZ:
“If you live in the dark a long time and the sun comes out, you do not cross into it whistling. There’s an initial uprush of relief at first, then — for me, anyway — a profound dislocation. My old assumptions about how the world works are buried, yet my new ones aren’t yet operational. There been a death of sorts, but without a few days in hell, no resurrection is possible. You don’t have to be Christian for the metaphor to make sense, psychologically speaking… Crazy….
Two phenomenal quotations from the phenomenal Mary Karr. The first one comes from the unbelievably great essay “Facing Altars” which is included in her poetry collection, Sinners Welcome, ht PW:
People usually (always?) come to church as they do to prayer and poetry—through suffering and terror. Need and fear…
The faithless contenders for prayer’s relief who sometimes ask me for help praying (still a comic notion) often say it seems hypocritical to turn to God only now during whatever crisis is forcing them toward it – a kid with leukemia, say, husband lost in the World Trade Center. But no one I…
This one comes to us by way of MB contributor Emily. I think it’s safe to say that Mary Karr is a fellow Mockingbird, whether she knows it yet or not! Her life story reminds me of another MB favorite, Brennan Manning (author of “The Ragamuffin Gospel”), of whom it’s been said that the Lord allowed him to walk through dark valleys so that he could later lead others to the Light.
WHAT: Mockingbird seeks to connect the Christian faith with the realities of everyday life in fresh and down-to-earth ways.
WHY: Are we called Mockingbird? The name was inspired by the mockingbird’s peculiar gift for mimicking the cries of other birds. In a similar way, we seek to repeat the message we have heard - God’s word of grace and forgiveness.
HOW: Via every medium available! At present this includes (but is not limited to) a daily weblog, semi-annual conferences, and an ongoing publications initiative.
WHO: At present, we employ two full-time staff, David Zahl and Ethan Richardson, and two part-time, CJ Green and Bryan Jarrell. They are helped and supported by a large number of contributing volunteers and writers. Our board of directors is chaired by Mr. Thomas Becker.
WHERE: Our offices are located at Christ Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, VA.
WHEN: Mockingbird was incorporated in June 2007 and is currently in its ninth year of operation.
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