Hunger, Eating, Miracles, Infertility and Anne Lamott
I love sharing what I am reading with you. Books are an integral part of my life, my days, and my evenings. If I have nothing new, (usually because my library has a poster with my picture on it and a wanted slogan underneath) then I reread something. I’ve been known to sit down and read a milk carton, for lack of other things to read. One unexpected joy was reading Robert Heinlein for lack of a single other book to read on a vacation. Never liked science fiction before that and fell in love with the genre after that.
During my struggles with infertility, books were especially important as a place where I could dive in and disappear. They became an alternate universe; a place where I lived outside of myself.I credit books with helping me keep the sanity that I had during fertility treatment.
So I’m reading Anne Lamott, whom I love. A friend commented on how religious based her writing was and was surprised that piece didn’t turn me off. I believe that’s one of the reasons that I love her books because I see them as faith based, or spiritually based, rather than simply religious based. She has her own religion which she shares with the reader, but she does not push it on you. Or at least I feel that she has shared, not pushed.
In her book, Traveling Mercies, Some Thoughts on Faith, a memoir, therefore non-fiction, she talks about growing up, falling down, getting up and so on and so forth. There is a chapter in the book called Hunger, where she speaks about her relationship with food and the eating disorder she struggled with. She doesn’t sugar coat a thing; she allows us to see the battles that she fights without minimizing the size of the battle.
“It is, finally, so wonderful to have learned to eat, to taste and love what slips down my throat, padding me, fill me up, that I’m not uncomfortable calling it a small miracle. A friend who does not believe in God says, “Maybe not a miracle, but a little improvement,” but to that I say Listen! You must not have heard me right; I couldn’t feed myself! So thanks for your input, but I know where I was, and I know where I am now, and you just can’t get here from there. Something happened that I had despaired would ever happen. It was like being a woman who has despaired of ever getting to be a mother but who now cradles a baby. So it was either a miracle- Picasso said, “Everything is a miracle; it’s a miracle that one does not dissolve in one’s bath like a lump of sugar”- or maybe it was more of a gift, one that required some assembly. But whatever it was, learning to eat was about learning to live- and deciding to live; and it is one of the most radical things I’ve ever done.“
I know that you are working on a miracle. I know that you are counting on science and medicine and even statistics to help get you there. Perhaps learning to feed ourselves, whether it is literally about food, or it’s about enjoying a moment or two in the middle of a two week wait or it’s about feeling like you can move forward when you hear bad news, perhaps that is the miracle too.
I do believe in miracles and I do believe they can seem very small, even when they make the moment blossom and become shiny and vibrant. There is nothing small about the miracle that you are hoping and striving for; just keep those eyes open for the smaller miracles that happen along the way.