Last year, I was at my favorite bookstore. I went there because I was feeling sort of fragile and overwhelmed, and one of the things that usually makes me feel better is a bookstore. I was looking through the cards, the ones that have quotes on the front, and they’re all big, inspirational, “seize the day” -type quotes, from people like Eleanor Roosevelt and Albert Einstein. If you read them on a good day, you’re like, “I will, Eleanor Roosevelt, I will change the world one tiny moment at a time!” But on a kind of cranky, bad day, you read them and you think, “Well, that’s why you people are famous, because you do wonderful inspirational things, and all I do is try to get through the day without crying or losing my mind.” So I was looking at all of these cards, and usually I’m just a sucker for them, but on that night, I felt worn out and hollow. I looked at this whole big wall of cards, and each one was making me feel more broken down and scraped away inside, so far from inspiration and hope. Then I saw one in the corner, in black and white, and it said, “You too? I thought I was the only one…”
– Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines
I can’t put the book down. Shauna Niequist just gets me. Or I simply get Shauna Niequist. Either way she is my jam. She is my friend (in a book :)) because her words are sweet to the soul and real and raw and …beautiful.
She has a few books published and her newest, Bread and Wine, will be next on my list.
But back to Cold Tangerines. It’s Niequist’s own story she writes about, but every line you can place yourself in her shoes. Each chapter in her book can be a reflection into our own life and struggles and I have always, always found the honest and raw moments in life to be the most powerful and touching; they allow life to become more joyful and that much more enriching (and less of a competition and a “to-do” list).
I love Niequist’s spirit because she lets her readers see the frayed edges of her life. It leaves me wondering if I can find someone who is blatantly not-so-perfect endearing (Niequist), why can’t I be more like that? Why can’t I let my own guard down and let people see the real struggles in my life. Be “the real thing” in someone’s life amidst all the comparisons and carefully groomed “fairy tale” lives.
If you haven’t picked up one of her books as of yet, to include Cold Tangerines, I would urge you to take a quick trip to your local bookstore and scoop it up. I hope you find encouragement and peace while reading her words…
Any good book recommendations? I’m usually a non-fiction kind of gal, but I’m open to suggestions.