Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith
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With the trademark wisdom, humor, and honesty that made Anne Lamott's book on faith, Traveling Mercies, a runaway bestseller, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith is a spiritual antidote to anxiety and despair in increasingly fraught times.
The world is a more dangerous place than it was when Lamott's Traveling Mercies was published five years ago. Terrorism and war have become the new normal; environmental devastation looms even closer. And there are personal demands on Lamott's faith as well: turning fifty; her mother's Alzheimer's; her son's adolescence; and the passing of friends and time.
Fortunately for those of us who are anxious and scared about the state of the world, whose parents are also aging and dying, whose children are growing harder to recognize as they become teenagers, Plan B offers hope in the midst of despair. It shares with us Lamott's ability to comfort, and to make us laugh despite the grim realities.
Anne Lamott is one of our most beloved writers, and Plan B is a book more necessary now than ever. It will prove to be further evidence that, as The Christian Science Monitor has written, "Everybody loves Anne Lamott."
miserably through time and space and the holes between; and then we blow our top. Say, for instance, that your child is four and going through the stage when he will wear only the T-shirt with the tiger on it. With a colleague, who was hoping you’d come through with the professional equivalent of washing the tiger T-shirt every night, you might be able to explain that you were up until dawn on deadline, or that you have a fever, and so did not get to the laundry. And the colleague might cut you
might get wet, but maybe fewer people will die in Iraq. Somebody handed me a candle. I found an old schoolmate, friends of my parents. I found my pastor, and other people from my church. It didn’t rain again until the march was over. Two thousand of us eventually gathered, and we milled around until night began to fall. Then we lit our candles and marched, talking and singing. When I said I was hungry, someone gave me a hard butterscotch candy. It was so biblical I could hardly bear it. I
because I am about to heavily fuck with it.” He finds where something has a weak spot, picks up a branch, and jabs it, like a physical yell. He can say terrible, mean things to me, and then, a few hours later, be so kind and contrite that it brings tears to my eyes. He was always this way, accepting and fair, capable of casual meanness and extraordinary empathy. When he was seven and we started looking for his father, I asked him what he would do if it turned out that his father was strange, or
thing. I was the angriest daughter on earth, and also one of the most devoted. My brothers and I gave away most of her things—clothes, books, broken junk. One thing was left behind, and this was the plastic crematory box, with her misspelled name, that held her ashes. We couldn’t figure out how to pry it open. In the many months it had taken me to retrieve the box from the closet, I discovered that I had forgiven her for a number of things, although for none of the big-ticket items—like having
bookstores, bought myself a lipstick, a cup of cocoa with extra whipped cream, and then dropped by an old stone church. The church was small and beautiful, cold and dark. This gave me some relief: we live in darkness. People know this by the time they turn twenty-one; if they don’t, they’re seriously disturbed. I started to get freaked out about dinner—there are six people in the world with whom I can bear to eat. And besides, what if the added weight of Sam’s brother, with his inevitable