July 1, 2016

Partly sunny

‘Firstlight’ draws from Kidd’s early writings

Religion Editor

In “Firstlight” ($19.95, Guideposts), Sue Monk Kidd’s collection of stories and essays, the author writes: “At the core of personal spiritual writing is a hungering for wholeness, for self, for meaning. The question of ‘Who am I?’ reverberates quietly in these pages as does a willingness to be know.”

The book gathers much of Kidd’s early work from Guideposts and other sources. “Firstlight” is the kind of book you can dip into at any point.

The book is celebration of discovery, of finding God in common moments. I liked best her wonderful description in the “Taste of Silence” segment, when she describes an early childhood memory when she was 4 years old. Awakened one night by a scratching sound on her window screen. She wasn’t afraid. Instead, she imagined “increasingly magical explanations for it, unaware that I was about to engage a mystery that would in some way linger with me the rest of my life.”

She told her mother there was an angel scratching at the window. Her mother didn’t dismiss her with sharp words for waking her up, too. “Instead, groggy with sleep, she knew that the ability to let go and listen creatively to the world as a mythic and sacred place, that the power to listen to the humdrum and the familiar and hear the sacred possibility of music inside it is a tender, fragile thing, easily lost. So rather than douse my first foray into holy imaginings, she put her blessing on it. She said, ‘An angel? Wonderful. Say hello for me.’ ”

Many readers will identify with Kidd in her journey as wife, mother, woman and how she seeks the spiritual in these many roles.

Totts may be reached at 330-721-4063 or religion@ohio.net.