02 January 2013

Reading Mariechild Together: Enormous Courage

Like many readers I know, I often become sort of obsessed about a subject and read book after book related to it -- Tudor history, for example, or the Kennedy administration, or the French Revolution. (I read a lot of non-fiction.) In the past few months I have read or listened to several books about climbing Mount Everest and K-2, the two tallest peaks in the world. It is astounding how physically and mentally challenging these climbs are. I think that's what enthralled me so: the very fact of such dogged persistence in the face of extreme everything -- weather, altitude, etc.

As I read, I had what seemed a silly, egotistical thought: I may not be able to climb Everest, but I accept the challenge of living an honest, self-aware and deeply searching spiritual life and that, in its way, is comparable. But it was the kind of thought that seems too egomaniacal for airing in the light of day, so I let it go.

Then I had a great conversation with a friend who uses Jon Krakauer's book, Into Thin Air, in the early weeks of an introductory theology course he teaches. (Note: this is one guy with whom I could see myself studying theology.) And I had my hook for seeing my spiritual life as analogous to climbing impossible heights.

Then today, in Mariechild's own words:

It takes enormous courage to stop the busy activities we have been encouraged to perform and look inside oneself and be willing to accept and work with whatever one finds. (January 2)

Being in pain so often, I have few "busy activities" to cease, but her words still apply to me. I find them encouraging and hopeful as I clamber, sometimes reluctantly and sometimes joyfully, into the mountain's heights.

Some family and friends of mine are reading Diane Mariechild's book, Open Mind -- Women's Daily Inspiration for Becoming Mindful. Please find a copy of the book and join us on this blog by leaving comments below. Thanks!

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