[Lamott is an unstoppable storyteller, whether writing about church-going with a sullen adolescent or reconciling with her late mother. She rages against the Iraq war but takes comfort from her sage-like Presbyterian minister, who says faith] is not about how we feel; it is about how we live. ... Rule 1: We are all family. Rule 2: You reap exactly what you sow, that is, you cannot grow tulips from zucchini seeds. Rule 3: Try to breathe every few minutes or so. Rule 4: It helps beyond words to plant bulbs in the dark of winter. Rule 5: It is immoral to hit first.
All the older people who are thriving have stayed physically active there are exceptions, and everyone knows someone who smoked two packs a day and had a few social beers with breakfast every morning who lived to be 85, but you have to assume that this won't be you, ... Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith.
For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.
No matter how people mess with you or let you down, or how you let yourself down, a good book means that when you get in bed that night, you have a good hour. I feel like you pay all day for that hour. That's what books mean to me. I can open this two-dimensional, flat white page with squiggly little black marks on them, and someone has created this world that you're going to enter into ...
Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They depen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It's like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can't stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.
Tom has been having a difficult patch, and we meet at the church of IKEA as often as possible, because it is equidistant from our houses and always cheers us up. Yesterday I asked, 'In your depression, and with so many people having such a hard time, where is Advent?' He tried to wiggle out of it by saying, 'You Protestants and your little questions!' Then, when pushed, he said: 'Faith is a decision. Do we believe we are ultimately doomed and fucked and there's no way out? Or that God and goodness make a difference? There is heaven, community, and hope - and hope that there is life beyond the grave.' 'But Tom, at the same time, the grave is very real, dark and cold and lonely.' 'Advent is not for the naive. Because in spite of the dark and cold, we see light - you look up, or you make light, with candles, or with strands of lightbulbs on trees. And you give light. Beauty helps, in art and nature and faces. Friends help. Solidarity helps. If you ask me, when people return phone calls, it's about as good as it gets. And who knows beyond that.