I have been reading A LOT lately. I read for at least a half hour before bed and any other time I can squeeze it in. In the past, I have "reviewed" some of these books. Lately though it seems that time has gotten away and I have read and returned (to the library). However, I just finished a book that I have to write about it and one that is on my "must purchase list".
The book???? "The Feast of St. Bertie" by Kathleen Poppa I know, the title leaves you thinking food, a buffet, a loaded table. But the book is actually a feast for the soul. As I was reading, I was reminded of "Eat, Pray, Love" for several reasons. This book, like "Eat, Pray, Love"' is one that I think you have to be in the right frame of mind for when you read it. I remember that I put "Eat, Pray, Love" down several times until one day I picked it up and the book just fit. I was ready for it. This book was the same way for me. I was in the right frame of mind for it.
I am in the mind set of rebuilding, of searching, of longing. The main character in this book is going through those same things. The books starts with the main character returning home from her husband's funeral to find her home in flames. She has a grown son that she hasn't seen in months who doesn't even know that his father has died. She has a best friend who loves her but can be pushy, in charge and sometimes self-centered. And the main character does not lack for money. You learn so much about this woman in the book but not only her but those that are important to her. She decides to follow her heart and goes on a journey of the soul. The journey that she takes not only affects her but those in her life. She sees the beauty that she missed before, she learns what a "real" relationship with Christ is all about, and she finds her worth.
There was a line from the book that stayed with me. "There is something holy about sorrow". How can sorrow be holy? But it can. Tears and pain force us to bare our soul. They force us to be "real". When we really, truly hurt there are no fake smiles, happy facades, no "I'm OK". I remember a few months ago when I had food poisoning. I was SO sick, I couldn't stop throwing up and I was scared. I was alone. I called on close friends for help. Were I healthy, I would never ask for help. I would fight my way through, I would do it on my own. But in pain, we ask for help. When our soul is in pain, there is a "friend that sticketh closer than a brother". He is there to hold us, to comfort us, to love us. He loves us in our nakedness, in our realness, with all of our mistakes and flaws. Remember when Jesus was in the Garden before he was crucified? He wept and in his sorrow there was holiness.
2009 was a year of sorrow for me. All that I knew and that I thought I needed was gone. I was no longer a caretaker of my mother-in-law, I was no longer a wife, I no longer had a house, I had to put my cat down, I had to sell things that I once thought were valuable to pay bills. In that sorrow though I found holiness. I found that instead of taking care of others, I could and should take care of myself. I found that I didn't need a house to have a home. I found that material possessions do not define happiness. I found out that my friends love me for me, not for anything I have done or could do. I found out that God always provides and in my aloneness He is and was there. I found out that God is faithful, He never leaves nor forsakes.
And all of that, I realized after reading this book. Kathleen Poppa is a woman of God and I am thankful for her willingness to allow Him to use her. This book will be on my bookshelf and I will read it again.