Monday, January 19, 2015

The Importance of Darkness

Most associations our brains have with darkness are with emotions such as sadness, depression, and loneliness to name a few. It is the essence of every emotion we try to run from. We constantly hear the message "change your thoughts, change your life." While we understand that at a fundamental level, it is more difficult to remain hidden from the darkness that will inevitably pop up in our lives, and sometimes threaten to consume us. Darkness is an essential ingredient in our life. No matter how hard we try, we can never escape the darkness. If you have lived a full, and beautiful life, you understand that "life is both beautiful and brutal. They are woven together, and you cannot have one without the other." That quote was from Glennon Doyle Melton, who runs the amazing blog Momastery. I'm currently obsessed with everything she does, and writes. Recently, I came across a post where Glennon shared, on Instagram, a picture of a quote by Mary Oliver. The quote spoke to me, and had me reflecting upon all of the times that I let darkness threaten to consume me. I'll share the quote with you, and then we will get to the goods. The books that offer both a taste of darkess, and the light.

  1. Memoir
Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Anna Whitson-Donaldson

This books is utterly devastating, and beautifully written. It is both sweet and sorrow all wrapped into one beautiful package. While every parent avoids thinking of the worst case scenario, Anna Whitson-Donaldson offers a grace and poise that each one of us can only hope to possess when that time of sorrow arrives in our own lives. While this book is not for the faint of heart, read it and embrace the message. It's a masterpiece. 

"On the other side of heartbreak, a story of hope rises.

On an ordinary September day, twelve-year-old Jack is swept away in a freak neighborhood flood. His parents and younger sister are left to wrestle with the awful questions: How could God let this happen? And, Can we ever be happy again? They each fall into the abyss of grief in different ways. And in the days and months to come, they each find their faltering way toward peace.
In Rare Bird, Anna Whiston-Donaldson unfolds a mother’s story of loss that leads, in time, to enduring hope. “Anna’s storytelling,” says Glennon Doyle Melton, “is raw and real and intense and funny.”
With this unforgettable account of a family’s love and longing, Anna will draw you deeper into a divine goodness that keeps us—beyond all earthly circumstances—safe.

This is a book about facing impossible circumstances and wanting to turn back the clock. It is about the flicker of hope in realizing that in times of heartbreak, God is closer than your own skin. It is about discovering that you’re braver than you think."

2. Fiction

The Underside of Joy by Sere Prince Halverson

Can I tell you how much I loved this book? It tackles a tough subject matter that no mother wants to face. Another woman trying to take the reigns in raising your children. I don't think so! Right? Goodness knows we have all had dark days after the birth of our children, but no one talks about it. I just devoured this book, and in the end I actually felt a sort of softening for one of the characters. You must read it to find out if you agree with me.

Today, looking at my kids, I thought of how fragile life is. I started smelling their hair, and kissing their faces. Of course, they responded with, "MOOOOM!" I replied, "What? I just love you sooooo much." I do. No one can love them like I do, which is true. Nevertheless, (omg, I just made a funny-read the book) other people can love them a lot. They can love my children in their own way, just not MY way.

They are growing up so fast. I feel inadequate, like I wasted so many moments when they were babies. I am being too harsh on myself. This book, I hope, will have you seeing your family differently. We are all only composed of our parts. Sometimes you put the pieces of the puzzle down wrong, and you have to pick it up, and try to fit it into the right spot. Once you do that, you can see the beautiful picture.

"To Ella Beene, happiness means living in the Northern California river town of Elbow, California, with her husband Joe and his two young children. But one summer day Joe drowns, leaving Ella alone with Annie and Zach—until his ex-wife, Paige, shows up at the funeral. For three years, Ella believed that Paige had selfishly abandoned her family. Yet—as the custody fight between mother and stepmother ensues—Ella realizes there may be more to the story than Joe ever revealed.

The Underside of Joy is not a fairy-tale version of step-motherhood, pitting good against evil, but a captivating story of two women who both claim to be the mother of the same two children."

The Underside of Joy

Because I love these books, and want to share the love, I'm giving away a copy of EACH book to two lucky readers. Enter your name in the comments section if you really want a copy of one of these great reads. Please specify your preference on either book, so you'll be entered into that drawing! Good luck. xoxo 

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful Mel! Thrilled to see you back in the blogging game!!! At the sake of being greedy I'm intrigued by both novels!!! Anyone who wins (provided it isn't me😜), I'll swap you the jane green when I'm done! Again Mel... Just beautiful!!!