A highlight of the Festival of Faith and Writing was hearing Anne Lamott speak about writing and faith.
Anne talked about brokenness and pain, although she was sure none of us Wholesome Midwestern Types could understand what she was talking about, because she was sure we grew up in homes where our parents loved each other unconditionally, and our family members honored one another, and we cherished each other, with no strings attached.
(This got a big laugh from the Wholesome Midwestern types.)
Because we were loved, honored, and cherished–without a whole list of requirements to satisfy first–we felt safe.
And because we felt safe, we didn’t display obsessive-compulsive tendencies like counting steps, or meticulously avoiding stepping on the sidewalk cracks, or flipping the light switch on and off a certain number of times before bed (which set my mind awhirling in a number of different directions, none of them comforting. But I digress).
I’ve been blogging for a year and a half about my desire to cultivate a warm atmosphere in my home. Could the bottom-line answer really be to unconditionally love, honor, and cherish? Anne made it sound so simple. Not easy, but simple.
Because that? I can do. Even when I’m angry, or upset, I love. I can honor–my husband, my kids, probably even the dog–even when I’m really pissed off. I can remind myself to cherish those I love in the midst of the whole range of human emotion.
It’s not easy, but it’s simple.
If I wanted to underscore the truth of Anne’s words, I couldn’t have done any better than diving into Elizabeth Esther’s new release Girl at the End of the World upon my return home. Holy smokes, what a memoir–and what a terrifying story of what happens when we’re not loved, honored, and cherished unconditionally in our own families.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Anne Lamott’s work, unconditional love, feeling safe, and OCD in comments.