Let's All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have by Annie F. Downs on Amazon.
Blog pal Marci chose grace as my star word for this year, but does it not take a fair amount of bravery to trust in the reign and the rain of grace? Let's All Be Brave is a book for me, and for almost everyone―it's another in a progression of autobiographical memoir-type reflections by highly committed Christians I've been reading, books by folks brave enough to open themselves up and be more than a bit vulnerable to a general public. Like a close friend who's not too clingy, Annie Downs brings the reader (that would be me) along as she walks, talks, and travels. From Georgia to Tennessee to Edinburgh. As she takes her portable office (laptop) into the snack emporium or coffee shop. Chapter titles are short and fun: just start; say yes; say no; hold on; let go. I've listed the five in a row I need right now.
Annie writes about the stuff of life in an easy, natural conversational voice. Transitions, relocations, disappointments, relationships, quandaries about what now, what's next―Annie reveals her experience, her responses in the Spirit of grace, her theological and other takes on the same type of life stuff each of us has been through and know we'll deal with again.
[page 184] Grace is this year's word for my life, and in this book about bravery, Annie reminds us grace has rhythms of start, stop, race, slow down, hesitate. I long to be able to talk about [page 200] my people, my God, my hope, my map. "...your people are waiting and your God is watching with expectancy for you to see where you map is going to take you." In Spanish hope and expect are one and the same word: espero. In essence that means hope already is almost realized whenever you claim "¡espero!" Annie tells us it's about radical hope [page 163] that I'd further describe as deeply planted, solidly-rooted, almost impossible to uproot, throw away, destroy. Back in former city I was digging up weeds on the front lawn of one of the rental properties I managed when a tenant passing by observed, "That's hard work! You need to get to the taproot!" Radical hope with roots so deep you can't I can't no one can uproot it. I'll take a bow to Annie's Wesleyan heritage and say that's prevenient grace. That's God's ongoing presence and action each of us bravely can dare to trust.
Maybe I will be talking about my people, my God, my hope, and my map, if only I'm brave enough to run with the idea of someone untying my ship from the dock [page 201] and pushing it out to sea just far enough that I can't quite reach back far enough to take the person's hand. I need to bravely trust the breeze of the Holy Spirit to guide my little ship through the waters on to the next port of call. I've blogged about hospicing this phase of my life into a good death in order to make space for resurrection into new life. Annie didn't talk about it, but I know it's just fine and also brave to moor my boat at the next dock. I sure wouldn't want anything to tempt me too seriously to leave new city too soon! Let's All Be Brave is one more in the short series of books I'm keeping forever and expect (hope) to pick up, pick a chapter, and again get motivated and inspired to be brave, to live in grace.
my amazon review: fearlessly and wonderfully written