Poisonwood Bible

When we finally reached the Redwoods after hours of driving, my kids were sound asleep in the back of the car. My husband offered to stay in the car first. So I put on my running shoes and took off. It felt good to run after being in the car all day. To feel the muscles in my legs working after hours of sitting. The sights, sounds, and smells of the forest woke my famished soul. The excitement confused me telling me to run so I can see it all and also to stop right there so I wouldn’t miss a thing. So what do you do? Do you put on your running shoes and run and run miles through the forest until your body is fatigue and then turn around and walk slowly back the way you came so you can see it all again from a different view?

Reading the Poisonwood Bible is like walking through the redwood forest after sitting in the car all day. First I listened to the audio version while doing the dishes, walking to work, taking a shower, cooking dinner, driving in the car. Every spare second I could, I squeezed that book into the spaces. And then I had to read it again. There was too much there that I couldn’t see as I was running by. I needed to slow down so I could observe the intricate details and drink in the profound beauty.

We who lived the same experience, all tell the story so differently. The facts are similar yet not the same. Whose story is most accurate? Whose version should we trust? That is the story of the Poisonwood Bible. The Price family all recounting their experience, their story, their suffering, their success. They were all together, yet so far apart.

Our insecurities, our fears, our need to look a certain way compromises the integrity of our story, as we pressure the facts to bend to our benefit. Can we trust our own story?

We grapple to make sense of the struggles and injustices we have been dealt. We try to find a reason to make that which is incomprehensible comprehensible.

How is it possible that it wasn’t until I nearly finished the book that I realized I didn’t even know who had written it? I was too absorbed in the story to realize that there was an author. Yet, how is it possible that I have gone this long in my life and have never heard of this book before? When I bring up this book in conversation, everyone else seems to have already read. Is it possible that I am like the person who has lived their entire life in Flagstaff, Arizona and yet has never seen the Grand Canyon? I have been literate since I was six years old, and yet there are so many notable books I have neglected to visit. After all, it was only three weeks ago that I finished The Hobbit for the very first time. And six months before that when I first heard of and then read a book by Mya Angelo. How many other great works are out there that I have not yet experienced?  And are all the great works limited to those known by the the New York Times? Are there not also other breathtaking views that are not National Parks?

I admit I am somewhat embarrassed by my lack of literature travels, but yet, there is something wonderful about experiencing great writing at a time in my life when I am more capable of drinking it in. Would I have appreciated a book like this and the magic of artful writing that breathes life into your soul and mind twenty years ago? 

It is a gift to spend time in a book that invites you to think, to reflect, and to see things from a different perspective. 

January 17, 2020

Time writing: 1 hour

Total time writing on this blog: 173 hours and 30 minutes