Today my sister and I were talking about letting people in. It all started because I saw this cuh-razy news report about a church in one of the Carolinas that is having a book burning on Halloween. They will be burning all satanic books by heretical authors, including, but not in one million-trillion years limited to, any bible except the King James version and any books by Billy Graham, Joyce Myers, MOTHER TERESA, and other people the world generally acknowledge to be decent and acceptable until I’m not sure who’s left. The good news: They’ll be serving barbecue chicken with the charbroiled literature. And further (and actual) good news: Only fourteen people attend said church.
I really hate dissing other people who claim to be washed in the blood. It’s not pretty, it tears us apart, and it accomplishes nothing. But DISS I DID. I tweeted and facebooked the life out of that video, and got just the responses I was hoping for, i.e, “This is disheartening.”
Now to tread lightly into my past and confess something. I’ve been there. This is what Felicity and I were talking about. We’ve been under a circle of influence that seemed to suggest that possibly no Christian author (let alone, oh my gosh, the nonChristian ones) had anything to say that we should hear. (This suggestion did NOT come from my parents, who are both well-read, wonderful people).
And as Felic and I were talking, I felt so grateful that we didn’t stay there. (Not a physical location but a mindset). I’m so glad that I eventually knocked on some doors to see what other people in the world had to say about things (random movie quote: Sense and Sensibility: “I like them. They talk about things. We never talk about things). And I’m especially, supremely grateful that those people let me in when I did.
Here are some doors on which I’m so glad I’ve begun to knock:
My agent, Holly Root, and with her a world of writers and readers and people who love, love books. Technically, Holly knocked on my door, a stroke of luck I will forever think of as the climactic you-can-do-it heroine song in a musical. She sent me a memoir right away that moved me to this day and I knew, Anything is possible now. Since writing my memoir, I have awakened to this whole wide world of literature that I somehow completely ignored before. I HAVE SO MUCH CATCHING UP TO DO. But I’m getting there. And I am so glad.
Travel. I traveled around the midwest with my fellow youth-groupers in high school performing a play, and I drug my feet every single time. I hated being away from my small town and my crush and my bedroom with all my stuff. And I was just such a homebody! I went to Colombia, South America, my first year of college and, again, almost threw up from the homesickness. But after a few days I started to get the appeal. Today I have a husband and three children and two jobs and the pursuit of a writing career, and I don’t get out of town much. But I’m ready now. I want to get out of town more. I want to see more of the world. And I work for a place that lets me get even more aware of what’s out there, so I’ll know where I’m going when I go. I’m grateful for that.
Philosophy. I’m not sure that’s the right word, because I have a friend who is actually in philosophy, and I’m hardly even on the stoop of the house that holds that door. Still, I love that in reading and listening and watching the world and its people, you hear things like, “Humans seek comfort” and you realize that this explains why our lives tend to be BORING, or “We tend to consider any person we recognize, a member of our tribe,” and you realize why you care that Brad and Angelina had the twins out the other day. These little realizations that philosophers have gathered and put into words and scattered about the universe for us to discover in books and art and film and each other – I like these things. They’ve opened my world.
It’s nice to be let in, isn’t it?
There’s so much in the world for us all if we only have the eyes to see it.