After reading a fictional account of a woman so desperate to hide her beauty that she would pour Drano on her face to end it all, I realized that Lisa Samson’s characters would never bring me comfort.
I’ve now read every piece of fiction that Lisa Samson has ever written. Not one character or story left me comfortable. But, each character certainly did beckon me into their hearts. Every one has invited me to question my own motivations – spiritually and personally.
And the stories that Mrs. Samson concocts are riveting.
In the The Passion of Mary-Margaret, I was moved to tears. It wasn’t just the stunningly crafted sentences or the angst of longing for a life that isn’t meant for you. It wasn’t the harrowing way the main character, Mary-Margaret, and her precious Jude ultimately reunite. What could possibly go wrong when a nun and a man living in the red-light district come together?
Tears fell as I saw my propensity to love only on my own terms. They fell again as I saw the enormity of shame’s shadow on a person’s soul. And they fell, yet again, as I could only imagine sacrifice on the level that Mary-Margaret was able to pour out.
The best books do that, don’t they? They transport you into a world where anything is possible. Even ultimate sacrifice. And it somehow makes perfect sense.
I will tell you that this book was not wrapped up in a nice neat bow of finality. That played with my mind for a good long while after I read the last word. But the end is just right for these characters.
Lisa Samson is a writer who is expert at pointing to the light refracted in the midst of dark lives. Our humanity, Samson constantly points out, is no match for God’s Divinity. And His mercy and grace take forms we can only begin to make out in the murk of ordinary living. In the very first pages of this, one of my favorite pieces of fiction, she writes:
“The mercy God gives us is our own to receive, and while sometimes it overlaps with others’ like the gentle waves of the bay on which I now sit, for the most part, the sum and substance of it, the combination of graces, is as unique as we are.”
Truly. I have experienced this for myself time and again. Reading it only heightens my awareness of just how often Grace comes and mercy reigns.
And once again, I’m drawn to a book where Love wins. I probably always will be.
As I’m also continually drawn to Grace. And, I pray I always will be.
If I could break out in song, I would totes start singing “Livin’ on a Prayer”, right now, because I’m halfway there! My participation in the Write 31 Days challenge was tentative at best, this year. But, I heeded the call to just write, and I’m so thankful. If you’ve missed any of my previous posts on the Best Books Ever, click the button below.