Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott

Published: 2017-11-03 12:23:38
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“Travelling Mercies” by Anne Lamott is a collection of short stories and chronicles that take the reader through her journey of spirituality and faith. She models the book with stories of her troubled past and how she turned the coin to walk in faith. The narrative comes to life with scriptures and stories, and spiced up by moments of laughter, tears, and diatribes. Lamott describes of the way that she against all odds became a firm believer of God and herself. She showcases in her stories the myriad ways that this has sustained her, and also guided her to shine her faith on the dark parts of her life.

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Traveling Mercies Anne Lamott

In this chapter, “Forgiveness”, Lamott finds herself in a situation where she is struggling to make an effort in balancing between work and her son’s school. It is also made hard by the presence of her enemy, who is the mother of Sam’s best friend in first grade. She sees her as a person who is her direct opposite and better than her. This chapter unlocks the issue of jealousy and competition among people in general social environments. It is a reminder of how people have a competitive streak and don’t like other people who are better than them. Lamott hates her enemy because of this very issue.

This is a very interesting chapter as it shows how people can have hidden anger and hostility towards others without their knowledge. And for someone who is a devoted Christian it becomes even harder because you find yourself in a situation where you are afraid of what you might say and how people might think about you. She quotes “There were admonitions about the self-destructiveness of not forgiving people […] so much as it hurts you.” This is a very interesting quote as it shows that she also has some level of self-preservation when it comes to forgiving people. She thinks that if she doesn’t forgive people, she will be subjected to hate herself for it.

Anne Lamott Traveling Mercies

In the second chapter, Lamott sets the scene of her story around the affiliation she has with her church and how they welcomed Sam and supported her through her pregnancy. She shows how her new found community in church with the small congregation of Christians made her accept her fate and is welcomed with non-judgment. The way that the church welcomed her and her son was something to be admired. It shows that with a good church foundation anyone would be back on track towards rebuilding their faith in God. This chapter also shows how friendship can really turn someone’s life around and grow one as a person especially in a church environment.

This chapter reminds me of the importance of friendship and companionship in a group setting. It enables one to have an anchor, and a sense of stability among people one can be comfortable with. And where else is better than being in church, where people will always be friendly and eager to lend a helping hand. “All these old people, raised in Bible thumping homes in the Deep South, clapped.” Here she shows how well she was received by congregation without any judgment and was celebrated for being pregnant.

The first chapter is more of a spiritual journey to find the value of forgiveness and to find kindness for people that we feel do not deserve. It goes beyond overlooking the bad side of people and focusing on trying to forgive their nature. In the second chapter, finding a place and a group of people who accept you is one of the lessons that can be drawn from the story. It also shows the importance of helping a child develop an interest in church and a relationship with God as a parent.

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