A book that has caused me to muse on faith and its various manifestations for the past few weeks is Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies. Published in 1999 by this renowned essayist and novelist, it’s messages are still just as relevant as ever.
As one critic said, Lamott can be “…both reverent and irreverent in the same lifetime…sometimes in the same breath.” She gives the reader stories of her life and about her son, Sam, at an early age. It is “tough, personal, affectionate, wise, and very funny.” It covers from her troubled past through her enlightened life today. My favorite essay was from the “Fambly” section, titled “Mom”. In it Lamott writes, “In the photo (of her mother and herself) I am looking over at her with enormous gentleness because I sometimes feel this…But I was only feeling this about half the time that day. The rest of the time, I was annoyed…she is not at all whom I would have picked at the Neiman-Marcus Mommy Salon.”
Lamott makes the reader smile; she makes her/him tear up, but she always makes the reader want to read on. I rationed my reading to one or two essays a day, for I wanted to savor each one, to ruminate and muse on the kernel of each one, to restore my faith and to understand the otherness of friends’ brands of faith and in whom/what they have faith. Lamott allowed me to do just that.