Yay! Did you finish the book? I can't wait to hear what you thought of Carry On Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton.
Before I give you my thoughts I want to let you know the scientific formula I use for determining whether or not I like a book. If it makes me feel something, if it makes me want to keep turning the pages, if I find myself wanting to grab my highlighter...well then it's a good book. If I don't like the characters, have to spend too much time thinking and analyzing...it will be a hard one for me to finish but I will - I have a weird thing about always finishing a book (you never know, it might get better, right?). To my recollection there has been only one book that I have never finished and I hated it so much that I have blocked it from my mind and couldn't even tell you the name of it. I also try not to take books too seriously. They are information and education. They are thought provoking and feeling inducing and fun.
So, let's get to it...I really liked this book. So much that I read it twice AND highlighted:)
Here's what I liked:
- You might say I have some issues with religion. Issues meaning that I don't like being beat over the head with the Bible, nor do I like being judged for my beliefs, or my non-beliefs. I consider myself agnostic. I don't really know if God exists and the words Jesus and The Lord make me uncomfortable. With that being said, I LOVE her perspective on God, Jesus and the Bible:) When I started the book and realized how many times those 3 words were said, I immediately got uncomfortable but then I found myself smiling each time she would translate what she thought the Bible was saying because I could totally relate to THAT. Page 137 - A Mountain I'm Willing To Die On - really hit the mark for me. I don't want to get into too much conversation here about religion, but here are a few quotes that made me feel curious and included, and also made me say "YES!! That's totally it!!":
"God is Forever Tries." p. 103
"...every Christian is a Christian who chooses what he follows in the Bible." p. 140
"Christianity is not about joining a particular club; it's about waking up to the fact that we are all in the same club." p. 141
"Do not be afraid of people who seem different from you, baby. Different always turns out to be an illusion. Look hard." p. 142
"...if a certain scripture turns our judgment outward instead of inward, if it requires us to worry about changing others instead of ourselves...then we assume we don't understand it yet, and we get back to what we do understand." p. 141
Her honesty. We have all had some of those same thoughts - kids driving us crazy, husband issues, people issues, all of it - It makes me feel a little less guilty/crazy/bitchy knowing that I'm not alone here.
- Her description of addiction. It really is about bad genes and filling the huge hole. The chapter Holy Holes is words that every addict can relate to. And maybe non-addicts can relate too. AND, in just a regular, nothing to do with addiction kind of way, she gives us the reminder that "...sometimes people who need help look nothing like people who need help." p. 19. Which brings me back to the very beginning of the book, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Rev. John Watson. Yes, KINDNESS. Also, the chapter Day One on p. 27 - THIS IS IT. If you are experiencing addiction or recovery or are trying to understand someone who is, THIS IS IT. She somehow found the words I could never find. Thank you Glennon for this.
- Her courage. I don't take lightly any experience any one of you has gone through. For some of us "the worst thing ever" has been addiction, for some it's fighting cancer or the loss of a loved one. It's all personal, it's all relative, and it's all human. She is so dead-on when she says that life is brutal and beautiful - brutiful. Yes, it is. And it's okay to say "life is hard". It is. Even the good things are hard sometimes. I think we get into trouble when we decide that life is easy and we downplay the challenge of it all. I really felt her courage when she couldn't adopt, nor could she volunteer at the nursing home because of her record (p. 5 Building A Life). It's that moment when you have worked so hard to make yourself better, to accept yourself with all of the mistakes and the accomplishments, when you have unfrozen your heart and your mind and decided to help - only to be kicked down to the bottom of the well again. Rules are rules and I understand the need for them, I really do. I have a friend who almost 30 years after making a very poor decision, is still dealing with the consequences but now the consequences mean that he can't go on field trips with his kids or volunteer at their school. I want to scream at the authorities, "he is a hard worker, he is a great husband and father and friend, he is a good man with a really big heart that would give you the shirt off his back, he has done his time and received his punishment"...but there are rules. I am amazed at how she found her courage here. I guess we never know how brave or strong we are until we have to be brave and strong.
- Her humor. The dirty laundry, the 'kid lunch' that she packed for her husband, the scene at Target (my favorite funny chapter). the "removable pads" tag on her workout clothes...the list is long:)
Here's what I didn't like:
- Her honesty. I know I said I liked it, I really do. But it made me uncomfortable. And crunchy. We aren't used to living in a honest world in that way, and while it sounds good in theory and I completely understand, it's very hard to do. And when people do it to me, I feel a bit taken aback. Not upset or disturbed, just caught off guard and unsure of what to do next. I guess it will just take time and practice. I also felt a bit crunchy about her comments on parenting. I know her comments weren't necessarily directed AT her kids, they were more directed AT parenting in general but I don't know how I feel about my kids actually hearing that I couldn't wait to pass them off at the end of the day or using up every single minute of the gym's daycare time. Someday they will be parents and they will understand, it's a hard job. But in the meantime, they're not parents, they're my kids. I'm trying to imagine hearing my husband say to someone "my wife and I have been together all day, I can't wait for her to head out to her book club meeting." I know that he probably thinks it, but something about hearing it...it kind of doesn't feel very good. But that's just me, I'm sensitive like that;)
I think this is a book I will keep on my shelf and read a chapter of every now and then. Just to remind me that "I can do hard things".
So excited to hear what you thought! Let the commenting begin...and don't forget to let me know your suggestions for our next book choice.
With courage and kindness,