Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope by Anne Lamott

almost everything anne lamott cover“I am stockpiling antibiotics for the apocalypse, even as I await the blossoming of paperwhites on the windowsill in the kitchen.” I mean, come on, that’s a good opening sentence, right? Impending dread mixed with the likelihood of future joy, if we can give ourselves the time and vision to see it. Can we acknowledge the dread, yet step away from it, take the deep breath, refocus the vision, and then give into the snort of laughter or lip quiver that comes next? If the answer is yes, you are likely to find value in this book.

In an October New York Times Magazine profile, Lamott was described as a lefty guru of optimism. Five years ago, I would have given that a big eye roll, but optimism seems like a harder lift than it once did. I appreciate what she has to offer.

I have been known to rip through Lamott’s books (around 200 pages lately) the way I can rip through a bag of chips, yet I have found spiritual nourishment in what can seem like a potato chip coating. Her clear writing helps me slow down. In Almost Everything, phrases like, “the nesting doll of you” (oh dear) and the way she neatly drops thoughtful things others have said, such as, “Anytime you are experiencing love, you are experiencing the God we are talking about. But as David James Duncan says, ‘God’ is the ‘worst nickname ever’.” I find different things each time I crack open the book.

(About our Virtual Book Club: KMUCC members are invited to submit a book review of a title they deem of interest to other members of the congregation.)