(*Sidenote* the loss of self that I truly desire is to the magnification of Christ, but this kind of human connection is all part of the tapestry, I think. Empathy. Common narrative. Relationship. Think about it!;)
Over the last couple months, Shauna Niequist has been added to the list. I have spent many long afternoons savoring the sweetness that is Cold Tangerines. It is her first book, I believe, and is a beautiful inauguration into the published world, in my opinion.
Yes, there are a number of reasons that I should relate to Shauna. We both spent a number of years of growth and becomingness at an idyllic little spot in the foothills of Montecito being instructed and poured into by some of the finest lovers of God and knowledge that you can find on a college campus. We both could be found at one point scampering from the beach to class and back on any given Tuesday or dancing the night away in a dorm of delirious girls. We had a similar gestation of formative years. Added to that, we share some of the same struggles and yearnings and upper-middle-class preoccupations, but it goes a lot deeper than even that, really. She pulls out and teases up and explicates and allegorizes what the French call Joie de vivre and the Greeks call Kefi and relates that joy and passion to our Creator, who calls us, His creation, good. She finds the smallest reasons in life for celebration, for consideration, for feeling...and the largest- Him. His faithfulness. His gift to us. This life- His death- and a duty and privilege to glorify Him in how we celebrate both. In a seamless, intricate web kind of way.
This description can simply not do her justice. You must read Shauna yourself. Page 178 may very well be the climax of her book, but I promise, reading the climax before the beginning will not ruin anything. So, enjoy...
Now we're talking about celebration. Celebration when you're calling the shots. Easy. Celebration when your plan is working? Anyone can do that. But when you realize that the story of your life could be told a thousand different ways, that you could tell it over and over as a tragedy, but you choose to call it an epic, that's when you start to learn what celebration is. When what you see in front of you is so far outside of what you dreamed, but you have the belief, the boldness, the courage it call it beautiful instead of calling it wrong, that's celebration.
When you can invest yourself deeply and unremittingly in the life that surrounds you instead of declaring yourself out of the game once and for all, because what's happened to you is too bad, too deep, too ugly for anyone to expect you to move on from, that's that good, rich place. That's the place where the things that looked for all intents and purposes like curses start to stand up and shimmer and dance, and you realize with a gasp that they may have been blessings all along. Or maybe not. Maybe they were curses, in fact, but the force of your belief and your hope and your desperate love for life as it is actually unfolding, has brought a blessing from a curse, like water from a stone, like life from a tomb, like the actual story of God over and over.
...and CELEBRATE! :)