I went looking for a magazine the other evening after a long day, something easy to read. But sometimes the women’s magazines are too much for me. When I’m tired I really can’t face the prospect of having to worry about twenty ways to beat cravings! and this season’s purses! and how to blast your butt fast!. So I wandered lost around Borders for a while, looking for something that would be good company. I stumbled on Lit by Mary Karr. I had no idea how lucky I was. Lit is in the memoir section, but it’s a pure confession in the classic sense. Augustine has nothing on Karr. She tells her story of getting drunk and getting sober, but really it’s the oldest story in the book. I once was lost, but now am found. Don’t let this talk of confession fool you into thinking this is a pious or uptight book, though. Far from it. Like any sinner worth her salt, Karr can make you laugh until you cry. She curses with the best of them, and is as irreverent as they come. She has dealt with the crap in life, and knows how real it is. And she’s more surprised than anyone to find herself writing a book about finding God.
In fact, her writing about faith was the most compelling part to me. She thinks the whole religion/higher power/faith thing is complete hooey. And yet… And yet. Isn’t that how faith always works? Or at least how it works for me. I’m fully aware how improbable, how unlikely, how foolish the claims I make in faith are. A lot of days I halfway can’t believe I believe them. And yet. My heart keeps straining in the direction of trust, keeps calling me toward a love that lies behind it all, keeps pointing me to this man Jesus. It makes no sense to me, and yet. Yet it seems more true than anything else I’ve ever encountered. And in spite of it all, this love, these claims about God, are what I find myself staking my life on. Karr captures the surprise I often feel in finding myself a believer. The surprise, and the grace. The sense of I can’t believe this, but thank goodness.