Monthly Archives: June 2012

Books: Beloved by Toni Morrison

There’s a fine line between relaxation and going stir crazy. Thankfully, right now I’m on the good side of that line, living the suburban life, and trying to see it as a gift. I’ve been at home with my family the past 3 days, after moving all my things back to my parents’ house. And I feel like I’ve finally been able to to rest. I’ve spent an embarrassing number of hours indoors, sitting on my bed or our recliner, or taking 4 mile walks to Coffee Bean and back, because what else is there to do in the ‘burbs? My frantic mind has quieted down (the calm before the storm) long enough for me to actually read and finish a book, the first one in months!

I read Beloved by Toni Morrison. SPOILER: it’s about a 19th century slave woman, Sethe, who runs away to find freedom in the north. The event that alters everything for Sethe and the other characters is when Sethe chooses to kill her own child to save her from being enslaved as well.

That’s the plot anyway, but really it’s about freedom and what it meant to people who didn’t have it most of their lives. It’s beautiful to hear freedom described through the characters eyes as they discover it for the first time. It means being able to love another or yourself without fear that losing either will break your spirit. It mean you are your own most prized possession. In one of my favorite passages, freedom is owning and loving your very body:

In this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don’t love your eyes; they’d just as soon pick em out. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it. And O my people they do not love your hands. Those they only use, tie, bind, chop off and leave empty. Love your hands! Love them. Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face ’cause they don’t love that either. You got to love it, you!

I appreciated that Morrison is not an overly ‘flowery’ writer, though she paints beautiful word pictures. She tells the story in a non-linear fashion, adding layers of depth to each character as she reveals their past in pieces; each event helps you understand how they became the people they are.

I’m not sure why, but I love literature about the south. I’m also not sure why it took me so long to get around to picking up this book, but I’m glad I did, and I recommend it to you if you haven’t read it already. I don’t know that I’d call it an ‘upper’ – some of the story is dark, and much of it is sad. There were some scenes I wished I hadn’t read in the hour before bed, as they left unpleasant images in my brain. But anytime an author tries to peddle hope through a story without significant loss for the characters, I have a hard time believing them.  It seems like the sad stories are usually the honest ones.

What about you all, any good recent reads? Or all-time favorites in the fiction category that you’d recommend?


Every time I am here at Sunset Cliffs, I am convinced it is the most beautiful place in the whole world. I went for a walk here on Wednesday, just in time to catch the sun going down, and it … Continue reading


In the past couple weeks, I’ve been skimming over old journals, specifically the pages I logged during the transition from college to what comes after college. It’s totally weird and surreal. Some words, I could have written today, others are uncanny in their allusion to the stirrings of things just now coming to fruition.

For others on the brink of transition, especially that blind step that comes after graduating from college, here’s a window into what that was like for me… 4 years ago.

So I’ve been trying to pull myself away from this impending-doom way of thinking about this next year coming up, and the years to follow. Trying to figure out how to find freedom from the anxiety that floods my body any time I try to picutre life two months from now, two years from now.. And so here’s the new mode of thinking I’ve found helpful.

Just look at things as though I am starting from scratch. All through childhood, all through adolescence, it seemed and felt that this present stage of life was the final goal, the end of the road, that you hit 22/23 and you have it all figured out, that this is what you’ve been planing and preparing for.

And now that I’m here, I see that that’s just not it at all. We (maybe just I) are all starting over, starting from scratch. I feel like I must discard anything I may have thought about how life will look, what I will want, where I will go, and how I will get there, and try to step back to look at my world and my life with fresh eyes.

I am starting from scratch, only I have the benefit of 22-years of learning who I am, and who God is. I am taking with me the lessons I have learned about life and people and Jesus and my wants and God’s love, and carrying them into this new life that I am beginning in the same place I’ve been.

It’s not just a new chapter – the first twenty-two years was the prologue and now the real story can begin…

When I look at it that way, I get kind of excited about the things God could do, the places He may take me, how the puzzle pieces of my hopes and dreams and desires might fit together in the end.

It is time for God to begin something new in me.

– May 27th, 2012

I hope that is a comforting reminder to those of you facing transition, that the concluding of one good thing gives way to the commencement of something else, something great.