Friday, January 25, 2008

The Wide Open Spaces of God by Beth Booram

Okay, for those of you who like non-fiction as well as fiction, (I personally have to have my arm twisted to read non-fiction - LOL!) here is a wonderful book by a new writer friend of mine. Beth uses eight landscape metaphors to help us discover a way to frame our experiences with God and talk about the different, surprising, confusing or dissonant intervals of our journey with Him. Her writing style is just lovely. Here's an excerpt:

Submerged Dramas
The darkening waters closed in around me; they felt ominous and suffocating. The diver in front of me continued to swim deeper and deeper into the ocean’s depths. I knew that I was to follow, but everything in me wanted to turn back. My chest began to pound; my throat constricted. I’ve never had a panic attack, but I think this is what one would feel like.
A structure came into view on the ocean floor: a sunken ship? An open doorway led into a catacomb of hallways and complex passages. It was clear to me that the diver was going in and I was to follow him inside the belly of this cavernous shell.
Anxiously I turned away and looked over my right shoulder and above me. The waters were so beautiful, streaked with rays of light penetrating their expanse. I felt pulled toward them—toward the wide open, spacious sea.
Then it came to me. I had a choice to make. I could follow this diver and be trapped inside the sunken chamber and die. Or, I could turn out into the expansive waters of the ocean and live.
And then I woke up.
This is the kind of dream we don’t soon forget. Dreams arrest our attention and awaken us to the submerged dramas brewing within us. This dream was so evocative, so penetrating, that I wrote it down because I knew there was something to it. I just didn’t know what.
Six months later the meaning became clear. It was a Saturday evening, and my husband and I had been walking around all day like zombies, the magnitude of a decision we faced bearing down on our chests. We had been serving on the staff of a megachurch for several years. Through a number of devastating and disillusioning experiences, we faced the likelihood that we were going to resign from our roles.
In and out of process, we conversed with one another, considering our options. Finally, we concluded that there was only one thing for us to do: we both needed to resign. Once we decided, immediately we felt this amazing exhilaration—as if we had been set free and turned out into a larger, more spacious life. And then I remembered my dream.
It felt as if we were reenacting it. I immediately connected with the dream’s images: the sense that I had a choice to make; the aversion of moving toward the complex, sunken structure; and the draw of the wide open spaces. The power of these images gave me courage. I sensed we were saying yes to life, yes to staying alive to our own souls.
I wonder if you have ever had a similar experience or sensation—a time when you knew that if you continued along a certain path, you would suffocate and die. And over your shoulder was a way that seemed right and that led to life, but it would take courage to turn that way.

You can visit Beth's website to learn more about her and her book.

What about you? Read any really great books lately? Get any for Christmas? I just finished "Rhett Butler's People" and it was pretty good - but then I am a die hard "Gone With the Wind" fan. Happy Reading!

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