Part of my morning meditation routine is to read a chapter in a book with a spiritual topic. One recent morning I was ready to begin reading a new book, but which book?
Needless to say, I am never without a number of possibilities. I thought about revisiting some favorites, such as An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor, The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris or Anam Cara by John O'Donahue, but instead I pulled three from my stash of yet unread books.
I got comfortable in my chair, as if I had all day to immerse myself in reading. The morning was still dark and the garret was cool, and my shawl added to the coziness. Too bad I didn't fix a cup of hot chocolate. Oh well, let the exploration begin.
The first book is Pilgrimage into the Last Third of Life, 7 Gateways to Spiritual Growth by Jane Thibault and Richard L. Morgan. The authors define the "last third" as 60 and beyond, and the intention of the book is to examine 7 tasks essential for living this time fearlessly and with purpose. The tasks include doing inner work, living in and out of community, and leaving a legacy. Each topic is explored in a series of short meditations followed by reflection questions. At age 68 I am certainly in my last third of life, plus I help facilitate programming for this stage of life at our congregation. Therefore, this book fits and seems appealing.
The second book is The Listening Life, Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction by Adam S. McHugh, who has written another book I should probably get, Introverts in the Church. I read the introduction which begins, "Listening comes first. In this life, you listen even before you are aware of it." I like the message and know this book would support the work I do as a spiritual director and help me refine my listening intentions and skills.
The previous morning I finished reading an excellent book by Margaret Silf, The Other Side of Chaos, Breaking Through When Life is Breaking Down. And even though the title was more ominous sounding than the content, which focuses on the "spirituality of transition," I was drawn towards something far less chaotic. My third selection is Sanctuary, The Discovery of Wonder by Julie Leibrich.
I have no idea where I found this book or if it had been recommended to me, but here it is. Before opening it to look at the table of contents or to browse in some of the chapters, I just held it in my hands. I let the book speak to me. The size is sort of awkward, and it is thick and stiff, as are the pages themselves, but somehow this makes me want to dive into it even more.
I started reading --and underlining.
...sanctuary is a shape-shifter, which changes
according to our needs and stage of life, and
according to opportunities. Most of all, what
sanctuary seemed to be about was giving people
the time and space they need to be who they
The contest ended. I was hooked, and Sanctuary is the clear winner.
Stay tuned, for I am sure I will have learnings to share as I sink into Sanctuary.
What book has currently drawn you in? I would love to know.