A Story of Unlearning and Relearning God
by Sarah Bessey
Howard Books (Atria), 2019. 222 pages.
Review written September 6, 2022, from my own copy
First, a big thank you to my friend Amanda who recommended Sarah Bessey’s writing. I purchased this book shortly after it came out, on her recommendation. When I finally got around to reading it a few years later, I wondered what took me so long. I loved it!
First, Sarah Bessey has a way with words. Her writing is lyrical and lovely. This book is full of stories that pull you into the scene and keep you reading. She also finds ways to interweave emotions and thoughts about God that get you thinking as well.
This book begins with a very bad car accident. One that significantly messed up her health.
In the middle of the book, she receives a miraculous and dramatic healing. But although that healing was real, other parts of her body were still in bad shape. She had to grapple with the miracle that did come and the miracles that didn’t come. And she explains that journey in a way we can all relate to.
Here’s a paragraph that I love, when she was talking about a way God had reached out when she was discouraged and told her she was not forgotten:
I have never gotten over that moment, that word of knowledge, and I hope I never do. My mantra was disrupted, and I had a new path to walk, a path I still walk to this day. If God had not forgotten me — and clearly God had not — and yet I was still part of the company of the unanswered prayers, perhaps that meant that I had misunderstood something about God. Perhaps the problem wasn’t God; perhaps the problem was the God I had created and the God I had been given.
In the miracles and the lack of miracles, she looks at what she needed to unlearn and relearn about God, and she takes the reader on that journey with her.
I also loved the chapter where she visits Prince Edward Island. I was there in 2019 with two of my best friends. I’m always happy to read the thoughts of an L. M. Montgomery fan! And yes, I can’t think of a better place for a spiritual retreat.
I’m going to look for more of Sarah Bessey’s writings. Like me, she comes from a Christian background, but some of her beliefs have changed as an adult. I appreciate her stance of not being certain that she has all the answers.
Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Nonfiction/miracles_and_other_reasonable_things.html
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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.
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