Vacation read: Geography of the Heart by Fenton Johnson.
This book was recommended to me by my CPE supervisor; it's not for the weak-kneed. Gut-wrenching, heart-enlarging, Spirit-filled and worth every tear that fell on the pages.
The book profiles tenderly the author's memory of "how I fell in love, how I came to be with someone else, how he came to death and how I helped, how in the end love enabled us to continue beyond death." Early on, the author talks about what he learned in his relationship: "...how love chooses us, if we let it, rather than the other way around..."
I found myself deeply touched by Johnson's frank candor when talking about death, and love, and fear. I include some meaningful paragraphs:
"...One measure of love is the ability to speak aloud the unspeakable, secure in the knowledge of the bedrock on which you rest. To speak with such frankness of the terrors of the heart - to talk so openly of the demons within, with no fear on either side of rejection - honesty of this completeness is the privilege of true lovers..."
"...I was beginning to understand how love offers some kind of victory, the thing that enables us to become larger than ourselves, larger than death."
"...But now I know in my heart what before I understood only in my head: we don't fall in love for reasons. This is the source of love's meaning and of our obsession with it..."
"...love keeps us human; love taps us into mystery, into that which we can't control or explain: love, and grief...so we give away some part of ourselves, to find that part returned to us tenfold, in ways we could never have predicted and cannot rationally understand. Loaves and fishes. Miracles happen."
In showing up to this book, in this moment, I found love in the midst of my own fear. En-couraged by this book, I found strength to name - out loud - what I am fearing now in my life. This book, in this moment of my life, chose me.
Who (or what?) is choosing you, in this moment?
God wasn't attracted to you and didn't choose you because you were big and important—the fact is, there was almost nothing to you. He did it out of sheer love, keeping the promise he made to your ancestors. God stepped in and mightily bought you back out of that world of slavery, freed you from the iron grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know this: God, your God, is God indeed, a God you can depend upon. He keeps his covenant of loyal love with those who love him and observe his commandments for a thousand generations. Deuteronomy 7:7 (The Message)