Monday, May 24, 2010

Book #10: Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl

"Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl" by N.D. Wilson

I almost didn't make it past the first chapter of this book. I started reading it and thought "Whoa. What a pretentious writer." I mean, the guy says "ergo" on page 5. Ergo.

But I'm so, so glad I kept reading.

This is the best book I've read this year (and maybe in a few years). Wilson writes about God's creation, our world, in prose that might as well be poetry. It's so rare that an author is able to convey exactly what he means using common vernacular, but this one is successful.

I hardly ever cry reading a book, but there were several passages in this book that made me tear up. I even called Ashleigh on Friday afternoon to read some passages aloud, because they moved me so much.

I can't do justice to this book by just raving about it, so I'll include my two favorite passages here, and let that suffice:

"Jean-Paul Sartre, in his play No Exit: Hell is other people.

A writer for Wired modified that slightly: Hell is other people's music.

...I know little, but I know this: When you have died and your leaves have been raked, when you have looked on the face of God and had your final conversation, exchanging words others may never know, you will be where you want to be. If you cannot let go of yourself, if you cling to the filth that you've loved for so long, stroking the cherished scabs that line your soul - hates and bitternesses that you cannot lay down, an imagined mirror picturing a glorious self - then He will push you away. You will be sent out into the darkness, far from His presence. You will not like the darkness, but the other option seems worse. You couldn't bear to be without those scabs.

You will be in good company, wandering with preachers, priests, and kings, and every lofty human unable to live without themselves. Many 'righteous' will crowd into that corner with you, people who cannot imagine themselves as anything other than good, who cannot bend to a God who will not bend to them.

Other people. And their music."


"Our Maker waits. He would have a conversation. What words will we have?

We need only one, the One who spoke us.

We will hear the angels sing. We will be the sheep. We will be made new and find ourselves standing in a garden. We will be handed bodies and shovels and joy.

No tree will be prohibited.

Blister your hands. Tend to the ants. Push the shadows back. Sing. Make a garden of the world.

We will laugh and carve FINIS on the earth. We will carve it on the moon. We will look to the Voice, to the Singer, the Painter, the Poet, the One born in a barn, the One with holes in His hands and oceans in His eyes, and on that day we will know -

The story has begun.

And we will rake the leaves."