Following up her highly acclaimed Girl Meets God, author Lauren F. Winner has written an engrossing reflection of literary grace and spiritual wisdom with Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis.
As she lives through a failed marriage and the loss of her mother, Winner finds her Christian faith slipping away. Through reading religious works and tomes and being counseled by leaders of the church, she learns she must find the courage to trust in God in order to to find His presence.
Elegantly written and profound, Still offers reflections on how murky and gray the spiritual life can be while, at the same time, shows us how to see the light we do encounter more clearly.
In present-tense, lyrical essays of varying lengths, some brief paragraphs, others pages long, the author explores her emotional landscape as she struggles to move beyond the depression that plagues her following her mother's death and her own divorce. Examining feelings of grief, failure, and doubt that she never expected to encounter after her conversion from Judaism to Christianity, Winner's (Girl Meets God) use of rhythm and image bring poetic nuances to her exquisitely crafted prose. Narrative accounts of visiting her mother's grave; "the failed cool-professor moment;" infiltrating a synagogue, in costume, to participate in Purim; and a church visit that results in her holding hands with "one of the people from whom Jesus would have cast a demon" all provide an intimate window into a seeker trying to find equilibrium in a stage of faith and life that is neither beginning nor end, but, she fears, "an extended sojourn into the spiritual equivalent of middle school." Evocative section titles ("hospitality: an icon," "female saints, their intimacy with Jesus") and quotes from poets, theologians, and friends prove inviting, while a circumspect honesty conveys both intimacy and privacy. Author interview included.