Spiritual Crisis

Tanned and wearing overalls, a woman comes into my library and gathers a stack of library books for her children. For this moment, it’s just the two of us. She’s a woman who doesn’t usually check out books for herself, but she asks for a recommendation. I ask her what she wants — fiction or nonfiction? Something easy?

She pauses and then tells me, I need something good. I’m having a spiritual crisis. I’m turning forty and raising two kids and….

I add, And the world’s falling apart?

She laughs. Yes. That might be it.

I pull Maggie O’Farrell’s book off the shelf, and she doesn’t look at it, simply adds it to her pile while we keep talking. She’s a woman who seems, to me, to have been fortunate with finances, surrounded by family. We talk for a bit more, and then I offer that change is opportunity — painful as that might appear.

We step outside, take off our masks, and walk around the gardens, talking about cucumbers.

The things in life which don’t go to plan are usually more important, more formative, in the long run, than the things that do.

Maggie O’Farrell, I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death


7 thoughts on “Spiritual Crisis

  1. One thing I have noticed in all this is that even though we are physically distant we’re not really socially distant in remarkable ways. I’ve been involved in several instantly deep discussion with absolute strangers this summer that began simply with eye contact – our eyes being all that is left of our faces and that’s more than enough. When you ask How you doing? instead of hearing fine, and yourself, many people seem to be giving honest, heartfelt answers.

  2. Thank you for sharing this slice of humanity Brett. This frangible request for a spiritually filling book is a reminder of how books and the written word can be the strongest medicine. I hope you and the tired mother have many more walks in the garden. Burpless cucumbers soaked overnight in vinegar is a strong tonic! GT

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