Have you ever read the first paragraph of a book and known that it was going to change your life?
I've had that experience several times and stand in awe of writers who can accomplish that with their words.
Three weeks ago, I was struggling - just feeling down - unmotivated - unfocused. As I do, so often when I feel like this, I opened the email I get each day from Meridian Magazine. It happened to be a Friday and one of the titles grabbed my attention - Light in the Wilderness: Explorations in the Spiritual Life by M. Catherine Thomas.
The first thing I read was a note from the editor - Maurine Proctor - introducing the serialization of this new book. Here's part of what she said, "When I read this book (and then reread it for the pure joy of it), I wanted to share it with everyone I knew, for its delicious and illuminating ideas were like a gift, stirring my ancient spirit"
When I read a review like that, I start to think that there must be something to this book. Then I read the first paragraph of the introduction which is a quote from Hugh Nibley:
"Have faith that there is more than you know; repent of all your present shallowness and silliness; wash off everything of this world in the waters of baptism, and be reborn . . . to a course of action requiring perpetual, progressive repentance . . . until you are full of grace and truth, which is nowhere in the foreseeable future . . . Then 'ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost' and get the guidance you need (Acts 2:37-38)."
I immediately felt gripped by these words and knew that I had to read them - and I have - about 8 or 10 times, because it is very vitamin rich stuff. It's like reading classic literature - it makes me think. I find myself stopping and studying one section, looking up the scriptures, and meditating on the deeper meaning. For someone like me who struggles with concentration, this is a big deal.
As I read on, I knew that I wanted to have this book and got online to order it. Before I could buy it, the thought came to me that I didn't need to buy the book - at least not at this point. What I needed to do was to savor each piece (published each Friday) a week at a time, so that I could really get the most out of it. So I'm studying the chapters each week and praying for help to absorb what I'm supposed to learn. It has been a great experience for me so far and when I click on Meridian and see a new installment, it's like getting a letter from someone I love.
If you're looking for a chance to stretch your spiritual muscles, or for a spiritual lift, or just to read some uplifting stories, check out this serialization. There have been 3 so far and each piece is a feast for the brain and the spirit. I hope it touches you like it has me.