Even though this summer has been a little bit crazy and my kids are making me crazy and I’m counting the days until they go back to school, I have enjoyed the weeks when we’re not running at a frenetic pace. I can sleep (my favorite thing to do) and I can read (my next favorite thing to do).
I finally broke down and read The Shack. I had avoided reading it for the longest time because I knew the premise of the story and, as Nathan would say, it gave me big freaks. Then I had been warned that reading this book was a grand heresy involving big seminary words like “penal substitutionary propitiation,” which only made my feeble brain spin.
But I was curious, and heeding the warnings about certain theological inconsistencies and having confidence in my discernment, I ventured forth. And I was completely riveted.
Good books are dangerous when you’re a mom of young kids (or any other demanding occupation, I suppose). I get totally sucked in and can easily ignore everything else in order to finish just one more chapter. Thankfully my kids can either make their own lunches or at least get their own snacks to tide them over until I can back away from the book. Don’t tell CPS.
So The Shack – very intriguing story indeed. And I read it as just that – a story – not a theological treatise.
And I have to tell you – the one huge, ginormous, perspective-altering aspect of this book that I loved was the picture of Mack sitting at the kitchen table talking to the three Persons of the Trinity. That alone changed everything for me. Having that mental image in my mind – the picture of God being so close and so personal, so intimate and so lovingly involved – has stayed with me every time I pray, every time I sing, every time I cry out for help.
I’ve known God for a very long time, but never like this. Somehow I just needed that mental picture to draw me deeper. Maybe it’s one of those right-brained, creative-thinking things. In any case, I’m changed. And thankful.
The Shack. Check. Moving on.
The rule in our house is that before the kids see a movie adaptation of a book, they must first read the book. And, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that this has been the summer of the sixth Harry Potter installment. Meghan has read all the books roughly five times (and I’m not exaggerating), and Griffin was bound and determined to get through The Half-Blood Prince before the movie came out.
Michael and I alternate putting the kids to bed each night, which means that we alternate reading Harry Potter to Griffin, which means each of us misses out on huge chunks of the story. So in preparation for the movie, I sat down and read the entire sixth book. In two days. Six hundred seventy-two pages.
Then I read the seventh book. In three days. Seven hundred fifty-nine pages.
Michael gently told me that he was getting a little jealous of Harry.
Man these are good stories. The imagination required to come up with this stuff is unreal. I am in awe of J.K. Rowling.
Then I decided to start at the beginning and read the entire series. All that chunk reading left me a little confused as to what exactly an Auror is and why Harry and his buddies don’t like Mundungus.
After reading the first book (as much as I enjoyed it), I thought I would take a quick break from good ol’ HP and pick up, upon recommendation as an alternative to The Shack, The Pilgrim’s Progress. If you’re not familiar with this book, it is classic literature required of many a high school student (except me) and was written in the 1600s. It is an allegory of a man’s journey of faith, much like Hind’s Feet on High Places.
Bound and determined to read it and expand my mind and stretch my once-brilliant scholarly literary aptitude, I sat down and dove in.
Doggy-paddled is more like it. Until I was treading water.
Here’s what I wrote on my Facebook page:
Abandoning The Pilgrim’s Progress after 45 pages and retreating back to Harry Potter. Behold, the parchment dost declare mine achievements in English at thou esteemed establishment of education, but lo! my mind doth suffereth much weariness and cannot comprehend thy meaning of thy fine work of literature. Lay blame rightfully upon the fruit of my womb, numbering three. Expelliarmus.
My friend Troy suggested I pick up Five Little Monkeys instead. “Stimulating conflicts,” he said. Animal vs. floor, mother vs. doctor.
Sadly, he is correct.
Yes, I have a degree in English. I used to be really, really smart.
Then I had children.
I believe that there is a condition called Maternal Onset ADD where the brain is so extraordinarily strained from multitasking and multiple little people talking to her simultaneously that she cannot accomplish ordinary tasks and cannot concentrate on a book that was written in the 1600s, so she must resort to a 7th grade reading level.
Otherwise known as “Mommy Brain.”
So I went back to Harry Potter.
I remain, as they say, blissfully ignorant.