“It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, she said, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.”If any of you follow me on Instagram, you know that this book came with me to Texas and I read it in three days. I probably could have done two if I wanted but I had to go explore the city when I was there when I had the chance! Bittersweet had been sitting on my bookshelf for a while (much like all my other books) and I threw it in my pile of books I wanted to read this fall. I figured it would be a nice inspirational read but it turned out to be so much more than that.
“I believe that suffering is part of the narrative, and that nothing really good gets built when everything’s easy. I believe that loss and emptiness and confusion often give way to new fullness and wisdom.”
Bittersweet is a moving book by Shauna Niequist that is written in a way you would read blog posts. She talk about grace. She talks about rough spots. She talks about how she doesn’t have it figured out and she’s not going to pretend that she does. She talks about marriage and babies and how food not only brings nourishment to our bodies but to our spirits. It is so raw and real and every time you turn the page you either find yourself crying or laughing for her or yourself or both of you.
“Use what you have, use what the world gives you. Use the first day of fall: bright flame before winter’s deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled with the smells of nostalgia: apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, warmth itself. The leaves as they spark into wild color just before they die are the world’s oldest performance art, and everything we see is celebrating one last violently hued hurrah before the black and white silence of winter.”
I wish in the prologue Shauna would have written “Grab a highlighter because you’re going to want to remember these things”. There were so many times I found myself dog-earing the pages and I knew there would be too many when I was through the first two chapters and half the pages were flapped over already. Bittersweet takes real life from a real life person who doesn’t pretend to have it all together and puts into perspective a lot of what life throws at us and what it has to offer. It’s a book I will definitely be going back to (with a highlighter and post-it notes this time) and re-reading again and again until the pages are deranged and the binding is broken. There’s books that are good and you will have them forever and then there are books that are great that you won’t have forever because you want your best friends and your children and your children’s children to read them and soak in the knowledge. Bittersweet falls into the great category.
“I believe that God is making all things new. I believe that Christ overcame death and that pattern is apparent all through life and history: life from death, water from a stone, redemption from failure, connection from alienation. I believe that suffering is part of the narrative, and that nothing really good gets built when everything’s easy.”