Thursday, October 19, 2006
A Private History of Awe
“On a spring day in 1950, when I was big enough to run about on my own two legs yet still small enough to ride in my father’s arms, he carried me onto the porch of a farmhouse in Tennessee and held me against his chest, humming, while thunder roared and lightning flared and rain sizzled around us.” So begins Scott Russell Sanders latest book of spiritual essays, A Private History of Awe. Sanders has crafted another insightful, wonderfully constructed work sure to challenge and inspire every reader.
The opening story marked the beginning of Sanders’ life of spiritual searching. His book reveals the breadth of this search from his childhood to today through many of the common experiences of life – school, marriage, parenthood, caring for parents, and much more. He writes of preachers and teachers, the Bible and Walden, friends and Friends, and much more, all of which ultimately inform his quest for that which many of us call God. Sanders is not content use one name for what he calls "prime reality" that cannot be described (“every such name … is only a finger pointing”) and yet "shapes and sustains everything that exists, surges in every heartbeat, fills every breath." But he does believe that each of us, if we learn to pay attention in love, can encounter in our own ways this “prime reality.”
This is no book of one dramatic epiphany coming at one major life crisis. Instead, it a story of way opening. Sanders tells the stuff of his rather ordinary life in an engaging, hospitable style that invites the reader to consider the lessons their ordinary lives present and to see how way opens for them. A Private History of Awe is a book to read and read again.