More Anne Lamott

Just flipping through some of the pages where I dog-eared Traveling Mercies: On Life

It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox, full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools – friendship, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said, Do the best you can with these, they will have to do. And mostly, against all odds, they’re enough. (p. 103) Our preacher Veronica said recently that this is life’s nature: that lives and hearts get broken – those of people we love, those of people we’ll never meet. She said that the world sometimes feels like the waiting room of the emergency ward and that we who are more or less OK for now need to take the tenderest possible care of the more wounded people in the waiting room, until the healer comes. You just sit with people, she said, you bring them juice and graham crackers. (p. 106) God: I wish you could have some permanence, a guarantee or two, the unconditional love we all long for. “It would be such skin off your nose?” I demand of God. But in the meantime I have learned that most of the time, all you have is the moment, and the imperfect love of people. (p. 168)

On Forgiveness

They say we are not punished for the sin but by the sin, and I began to feel punished by my unwillingness to forgive. By the time I decided to become one of the ones who is heavily into forgiveness, it was like trying to become a marathon runner in middle age; everything inside me either recoiled, as from a hot flame, or laughed a little too hysterically…As C.S. Lewis says in Mere Christianity, “If we really want to learn how to forgive, perhaps we had better start off with something easier than the Gestapo.” (p. 128) Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die. (p. 134)

On Grace

Out of nowhere I remembered something one of my priest friends had said once, that grace is having a commitment to – or at least an acceptance of – being ineffective and foolish. That our bottled charm is the main roadblock to drinking that clear cool glass of love…I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us. It can be received gladly or grudgingly, in big gulps or in tiny tastes, like a deer at the salt. (pp. 142-143) I was back in church the week before as one of our members stood at the pulpit telling us about how she had come to adopt her little son…First they had to fill out a questionnaire, with questions like, “Could you adopt an addicted baby? A child with a terminal illness? With mild retardation? With moderate retardation? With tendencies toward violence against others?” She ticked off the list, and then she cried. Veronica stepped to her side. “God is an adoptive parent, too,” she said. “And she chose us all. She says, ‘Sure, I’ll take the kids who are addicted, or terminal. I pick all the retarded kids, and of course the sadists. The selfish ones, the liars…'”…So of course he loves old ordinary me, even or especially at my most scared and petty and mean and obsessive. Loves me; chooses me. (pp. 254-255)
Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada