I almost didn't read this book. I don't remember where I first heard mention of it, but I quickly filed it under "too religious"...and then it kept showing up. Clearly, I was meant to read this book b/c suddenly it was everywhere that I turned. I put myself on the wait list for it at the library, and then clicked over to Good Reads to read a few reviews. Many reviews said that it was too short. Some said that it was sloppy (or choppy. or something unflattering.) I had an audio book credit to use up, so I downloaded it and committed to start listening on the treadmill.
Why all this backstory? Well, mostly b/c I want to make the point that after all of that...I was so pleasantly surprised that I loved this book. I was raised Southern Baptist, married a Jehovah's Witness, and then married a lapsed Catholic...I've seen prayer from many sides, many of them complicated by ritual & rules. This book breaks it all down...help, thanks, wow. Three simple prayers. Brilliant.
Anne Lamott advises early on - page 2 - "Let's not get bogged down on whom or what we pray to. Let's just say prayer is communication from our hearts to the great mystery..." Okay, I can do that. Although, I admit that I've wondered - if I pray to "God, the Universe, Guardian Angels" - are there 3 entities looking at each other, shrugging, and saying "oops, I thought you had that one." That would make for a good comic strip, eh? Anyway...Anne had my attention. Three of my favorite passages from the book...
Help. "So when we cry out for Help, or whisper it into our chests, we enter the paradox of not going limp and not feeling so hopeless that we can barely walk, and we release ourselves from the absolute craziness of trying to be our own - or other people's - higher powers. Help."
Thanks. " In the face of everything, we slowly come through. We manage to make new constructs and baskets to hold what remains, and what has newly appeared. We come to know - or reconnect with - something rich and okay about ourselves. And at some point, we cast our eyes to the beautiful skies, above all the crap we're wallowing in, and we whisper "Thank you."
Wow. "Wow is often offered with a gasp, a sharp intake of breath, when we can't think of another way to capture the sight of shocking beauty or destruction, of a sudden unbidden insight or an unexpected flash of grace."
I smiled through the entire Wow chapter, remembering my Great-Grandma Bea. We used to convince her to take her dentures out and say "Wow" over & over while we giggled.
This book isn't wrapped in doctrine. It was real, honest, and even funny at times. Yes, it's a short read...but that's part of its appeal. I highly recommend!