Today we start A Passion for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter by
I know. Deep upon deep.
But when we read in shorter chunks, I’m able to gather my thoughts and (hopefully!) contribute to the conversation more than: “Wow.”
I’m assuming each edition has the same foreword, but in case our books have different forwards, mine was written by Lyle Dorsett. In part, he said, “Reading biographies and autobiographies of nineteenth-and twentieth-century saints has shaped my spirituality, encouraged me in my walk with God, and caused me to ponder anew the role of books in the process of spiritual formation.” He goes on to talk about the “profound impact of books” on spiritual development.
Well, wouldn’t it have been nice if we read this quotation last week when the theme was read. Thankfully, it still applies to fostering a colorful and vibrant spiritual life. I have shared before when the leadership team was dreaming up the various parts of Velvet Ashes, we put a stake in the ground and said one of our values would be reading and discussing books in community. A snapshot of the recent choices on our spiritual development testifies to God’s attributes at work: laughter, looking for character development and growth, keeping souls fertile, grieving, exploring fears, children’s biographies of “gutsy girls,” and a Young Adult novel with themes that apply to us all.
Just think if (a) we hadn’t read them or (b) we read them by ourselves. Left to my own, I wouldn’t have read some of them (just being honest) or have been enriched by the conversations we’ve had. Again, a high-five to us and a grateful, “Thank you!” for reading!
My book then had a second foreword that contained this jewel from Lilias’s diary: “One learns as one goes, not to fear the detours by which God leads.” The author fleshed out some of what Lilias went on to face over the course of her life. If we could internalize the truth of what Lilias said, what a difference it would make, eh?!
Moving on to the preface, Lilias asks another question that we could camp on: “How does one measure the sacrifice against the yield?”
From her young childhood, I like hearing how she got the nickname “Tiger Lily” and could picture her with older siblings, needing to hold her own. I was also struck by how the death of a parent truly reverberates throughout a life time.
In this section, I felt a bit restless and wanted Miriam to speed up the telling of Lilias’s story and get to the meat! Yet, it was good for me to read through what formed and informed Lilias. A podcaster I listen to often says, “Success leaves clues.” I think our lives do too. I’m working on my next book and in doing research have been reading through my old newsletters. I have been a bit surprised to see themes I thought I’d only been talking about for the last six-or-so years show up in newsletters more than 15 years ago?! What? I was wrestling with that then too? Oh.
None of us hatch fully formed onto the field. Reading about Lilas’s early life I am curious to hear more about your childhood and how you see tendrils of it in your today life.
I especially like the chapter titles for the final two chapters we read for today:
- A New World: The Journey Inward
- Beyond Oneself: The Journey Outward
So true, isn’t it? The journey needs to be both inward and outward.
Since I don’t have the Kindle version, were they able to incorporate some of Lilias’s sketches? I hope so!
What were you thinking about as you read this section? See you in the comments!
P.S. Here is the reading plan for A Passion for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter by
July 5: Forward – Chapter 5
July 12: Chapters 6- 10 (or chapters 6-8 in Part 1 and chapters 1-2 in Part 2)
July 19: Sabbath (reading a larger section)
July 26: Chapters 11-21
August 2: 22-26 (the end)
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