Here’s a book review I was not asked to write.
I’ve recently finished reading Wayne Muller’s book, “a life of being, having, and doing enough“. Now, I’ll preface this review by saying – I love books. Seriously. The way a few pages of written word can tug on my heart, I have no difficulty imagining how the Word of God can transform a life. So often when I finish a really good book, I’ll spend a while wishing I had the resources to put that book in the hands of everyone I love. So that they might experience just a bit of what my heart has just been washed in.
It’s happened often in scripture. In “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau. In the words of NT Wright (pick a book). In Howard Snyder’s “Salvation Means Creation Healed“. And now…in the words of Wayne Muller. I know you may not immediately run out and purchase a copy. Heck, my own wife spent months telling me about an amazing book that touched her heart, before I gave it a look. (I’ve since apologized.)
We live in a world of “more”. Even writing this review is a tad ironic, because what I’m offering you is the advice that you should read “just one more” book. But we can easily agree that so often our lives become pursuits of “more”, sometimes with selfish motives – but so often justified by purely genuine desires to be “faithful” with all that we’ve been given. We want to accomplish _____ faster. We want to provide more ______ for our kids. We just want to make these changes to our environment. We fill our days, our schedules, our closets, our toyboxes, and our minutes with really really good things to pursue.
Being content is often pushed to the side, and labeled as laziness. (of course, sometimes it is laziness) Any good and faithful person will naturally be involved in any given moment – in the activity of growing, moving, creating, improving, acquiring, giving, producing, raising, teaching, etc… You get the picture. Especially with the growing offerings of technology, we’re reminded on an hourly basis – what else is out there that we “need” or “need to experience/change”.
To this “brain-paced” life, Muller’s words point us powerfully to the words of scripture – “give us this day, our daily bread.” The amazing experience of being content with a single day’s provision – especially in the midst of a people living a wandering existence (as Israel depended on manna) – can be a transformational experience for each of us. The hearts we’ve been given, and the preciousness of “small things”, require a purposeful slowing of pace. A “letting go” of things. A pursuit of being content that doesn’t look to acquire/achieve, but seeks to breathe deeply this moment of what “is”.
Early in the book, he asks “When we envision our most beautifully perfect day, what do we dream we are doing? Who is with us, what are the feelings or experiences we yearn for, how would we fill our day?” The book continues from that point to be a literary “deep breath of fresh air”. Not one that makes you sit back, thankful for what you’ve read – but one that makes you want to go out into life and experience the same exact things you’ve been doing all week – differently. 🙂
Toward the end, he quotes Meister Eckhart, a Christian mystic as saying, “If the only prayer you ever say in your life is ‘thank you’, that would be enough.” I pray that even if you don’t run out and grab this book…you’ve been reminded today, and urged toward knowing the precious and Holy peace of “enough”…