Leah Farmer

Personal perspectives on faith, literature, and life.

Wisdom on a Tuesday Night in Seattle…

Saturday it was Dr. Dyer.

Tuesday it was Anne Lamott.

I have loved Anne’s writing for many years. Her books “Traveling Mercies, Grace Eventually, and Plan B” have been blessings to me over the years as I’ve tried to match up my feelings about social justice, politics, and my Christianity. She was one of the first authors that showed me that there were other kinds of Christians beyond the cookie cutter versions I was seeing in the mega churches and the denomination I was raised in.

Tonight she came to start a tour promoting her new book “Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers”. She did a reading but mostly she just shared her heart, her struggles with feeling distant from God, and she answered questions about writing, forgiveness  and the love of pets. She was hilarious and wise…something I aspire to be!

Here a a few quotes that I jotted down on the inside back cover of my signed copy of “Help Thanks Wow”:

  • I tell all of my writing students and anyone who approaches me about their desire to write one important thing…Write what you’d like to come upon. Write what you feel is missing when you are looking for books to read. There will always be someone else who reads what you share and says “THANK YOU! I thought I was the only one who felt that way.”
  • The truth of our existence is that we are all so-loved and so-ruined.
  • The fight we face is that we must let others feel what they wish to feel and do what they wish to do. They will anyway and no amount of struggle will stop them. What we should not do is make excuses for their bad behavior or spend our energy trying to make them miserable about their behavior. It’s all so boring. Instead I’d rather think and talk about God.
  • When someone offers you forgiveness it is the most precious gift they can give you. Keep in mind that in order to give you that gift they have to decide to relive the hurt you put them through. To experience it again. And if after doing this they can still offer you their forgiveness, what a blessing!
  • Forgiving yourself is even trickier. We make contracts with ourselves at very young ages to be perfect, to never make mistakes, and to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders  But then you live long enough and at a certain age you have buried enough people that you start to realize that you don’t have enough time to keep the contracts you made at 3. You start breaking those contracts with your younger self and choose to accept yourself and offer yourself forgiveness. When you realize that you’ve survived burying people you just knew you couldn’t survive burying, you start to give yourself some room and break the contracts. You realize that you are here on such a brief errand to connect with your source and to be love.
  • If you learn to respond in silence to requests from others for your advice, they will begin to see you as a tribal elder. (hahaha!)
  • That’s the problem with Jesus…I just keep waiting for the catch. But there isn’t one. He is just wonderful.
  • The voice of the devil speaks so sweetly. He doesn’t say “I want you to smoke two packs a day until you die.” He says “Of course you should quit. But now is such a busy time with Thanksgiving coming up. Let’s wait until December 1st.”
  • Animals are the closest to knowing the peaceful nature of the Divine that any of us will ever experience on earth. They are witnesses of truth. They see you for who you are and offer you love anyway.
  • There is always room for the prayer of Thomas Merton. It goes as follows (as read by AL from my iPhone):

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