On October 8, just next Thursday, I will drive over to Tampa in the morning and become a member of the audience at the Women of Influence Luncheon featuring Elizabeth Gilbert as the speaker. The ticket for this event was my birthday present from my son, who knew how much I loved reading the fantastic and wonderful, very entertaining best-seller, Eat, Pray, Love, which had been a birthday present to me from my dear friend, Fawn Germer, a few years ago. If you haven’t read it yet, you are out of step, because everyone else on the planet has, by now. This is her fourth book.
So, instead of trying to decide what to wear to the event, to be attended by hundreds of swishy women…all of them Women of Influence… I am re-reading Eat, Pray, Love, just to refresh my memory. It’s surprising what you notice on a second read-through and I want to share part of it here, which I should never have forgotten reading the first time around, but I did.
Liz Gilbert is a person after my own heart and we share a certain characteristic, which I once…in my lack of exposure to other people’s autobiographies… thought was a rare occurance. That is: talking directly to God or to The Holy Spirit, as the case may be; and getting verbalized answers back. Not that strange! Not that crazy! Not that odd as a subject to admit publically in writing!
Yesssss! This will help me immensely in the writing of the manuscript I’m currently working on about my extensive Barbara Walter’s-type of interview with The Holy Spirit, a few quotations of which I have shared in this blog.
Anyone who has read Eat, Pray, Love, remembers the famous “bathroom floor scene.” Julia Roberts is currently filming this story in a movie to come out in 2011. She’ll do very well in this anguished episode where Liz is collapsed at 3 a.m. crying away in the bathroom of her new and fancy house for the 47th night in a row, because she doesn’t want to be married any more. Sort of accidentally, as a last resort, she began to pray, repeating a runaway entreaty of “Please tell me what to do”
Imagine her shock and wonder when she received a verbalized Voice in her head wisely saying, “Go back to bed, Liz.”
That became a turning point in her life, which helped her to extricate herself from an unhappy marriage and to cry her way through the speedbumps of the next three years of her life. At last, she begins her year-long journey to find herself and is in Italy, studying Italian and eating her way through the delights of Italian cooking, when her old foes, Depression and Loneliness show up to hound her. By now, she keeps a most private notebook to record her conversations with God:
“I need Your help.”
“I’m right here. What can I do for you?”
After she explains, she writes His Words in her notebook:
“I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. If you need the medication again, go ahead and take it – I will love you through that, as well. If you don’t need the medication, I will love you, too. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me.”
Now, this is what I’m talking about. This is what happens to me and probably to millions of others of us who are all keeping our most private notebooks. A really and truly, constant give-and-take with the Unthinkable God or the Unthinkable Holy Spirit, Whom all of us feel must surely be far too busy and far too high to be talking directly to us about our own lives and concerns; and cheerfully available to answer any of our questions. But, I’ve been doing it, long and strong, for many, many years.
It’s time we came out of the closet! Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert for helping to regularize this claim.You stand right up there with Dr. Raymond Moody in making it okay for Near Death Experiencers to discuss what happened to them while they were (unthinkably) dead.
Though it’s not exactly on the same subject as a personal and private prayer conversation with the Almighty, here is a speech that this author made about the muse in the Creative Process, in which she deals with the subject in a very scholarly way.
I especially loved the way she described the experience of a ninety-year-old poet, whose poems had been “coming at her” since childhood. It’s the idea of an outside presence which shares the act of writing or any creative endeavor with a direct and personal involvement. Voices in the head are, apparently, much more prevalent and more important than most of us realize.
So, I continue to prepare myself to sit at the feet of this charming genius of a writer by re-reading her literary phenomenon. Plus, I already know what I’m going to wear to this swishy event. It’s my new Chico’s tunic, a birthday present from my daughter and her family.