miI usually stick my little book reviews over on the right rail, but I wanted to full-post this one. I finished the book The Water Will Hold You about a week ago, and immediately, I went online to find out more about the author. I do this sometimes when a book really connects, and luckily, more often than not, authors have Web pages to peruse, blogs to read, and even e-mail addresses to stalkerishly inundate. Lindsey Crittenden was easy to find online, and I popped her an e-mail. I really wanted to tell her how much I enjoyed her memoir, how much it moved me. I was surprised and pleased when she wrote back, and we exchanged a few more e-mails, and I told her I'd love to help her get the word out about the book here. So here it goes.
Sometimes a book comes along that seems to speak specifically to you. It mirrors your own thoughts too closely. It features a story with characters you relate to instantly, with a plot that reads like something out of your own life. Lindsey's story is really nothing like my life at all in terms of the personal tragedies that she's battled through, the main one being the loss of her younger brother to drugs and an early death. I've never been through anything like that. But the book is really about a former skeptic learning to pray and to trust God despite intense suffering. I can understand that. I also connected to Lindsey's story in other ways. She's a swimmer; so am I. She's a writer; me too. She has battled depression; I have, too. She feels inadequate in prayer, at least at first; ditto, ditto, ditto.
This story made me cry at three different times, but it is ultimately uplifting and inspiring. It made me want to write more; Lindsey's talent was inspiring. It made me want to pray more; her struggles and discipline with prayer made me realize I'm not alone. It made me realize prayer doesn't have to be perfect. She starts out her prayer life focusing on something simple, repeating the line, "You are here, I am here," over and over. I really like that. For me, lately, as I've tossed and turned with anxiety creeping into the back of my brain, I've issued a similarly simple prayer. I think, "God is bigger than this. God is bigger than this." "This" being whatever silly worry is dogging me in that moment. It's worked, too.
Prayer is still one of the hardest things for me. Sometimes I feel downright disingenuous, my head thinking things like, "Who are you talking to? What do you expect?" In small group, sometimes we do these "popcorn" prayers where everyone takes a turn praying aloud. I hate it. I am a self-conscious pray-er, someone who is only comfortable behind closed doors, silently talking to God in my head. I'm sure that's just a sign of my spiritual immaturity, and in time, maybe I'll get over thinking I'm doing it wrong. This book helped me take one more step in that direction.