I’m only a chapter in and I’ve already decided that I will finish this book.
You see, I am a picky reader. Much like a picky eater… except, with books, not food. Anyway, I am hard to please due to time constraints, a short attention span, and a mind for the truth. I don’t read much fiction (unless it’s Margaret Atwood – then I’m game) and if it’s non-fiction, I want the book to be an expressive conversation instead of a “keep the dictionary handy” account of life/history/spirituality.
So, when I pick up a book, I subconciously determine early on whether or not I will actually finishthe book. Despite how hard I may try, there are just books that were not written for me.
Back to the book – I have heard great things about Tara Leigh Cobble’s music, but was not aware that she had written a book (Here’s to Hindsight) until a couple of weeks ago, while browsing through Relevant magazine. Since I work at a Christian bookstore, I ordered it for myself, but wasn’t sure whether I wanted to actually purchase it or not. It wasn’t until Alisa wrote a little review of her own that I decided to bring the book home and start reading. From the first line, “My parents did not raise me to be like this…” I couldn’t put it down. (Well, obviously, I did put it down because now I’m typing. I can’t read and type at the same time.)
——————————– Edit: Several Hours Later ——————————-
I have heard many good things about Tara Leigh, the musician, from my slightly-older and much-wiser friends, Carla Jean and Alisa. Both unknowingly influence much of what I listen to and read because I am both too skeptical and too busy to search for such things on my own. With that said, they usually have pretty good taste.
For instance, they are the ones who opened my ears to the artist currenlty known as Derek Webb, who now has a permanent place on the “Recently Played” list of my iPod.
However, with a sick iPod and no CD player in my car, I am currently and somewhat-happily dissatisfied (ironic, I know) with the variety of radio stations in Tuscaloosa. I have even started listening to Paul Finebaum. And I don’t even like sports.
So, instead of listening to Tara Leigh, the musician, I turned my attention towards Tara Leigh, the writer. What I expected to be another book to hit my “started and never finished” list (due only to my own shortcomings, not to those of the author). But, I was surprised to find that I was easily sold after chapter one.
Considering that Here’s to Hindsight begins with an account of Tara Leigh stealing an entertainment center piece-by-piece over the course of a year, I knew it was a winner from the beginning. And, several hours later… I am finished. (Working from home does have its advantages!!) I, undoubtedly, will need to read it again in slow motion to fully absorb all of the bits of goodness and also to highlight the parts I really liked (because I treat books like that).
I laughed out loud on several occassions… and teared up on several occassions… and then saw the book come full circle when she started talking about the love of God – how to receive it, how to give it, and how to give it genuinely. I also connected with the theme of community and a sense of belonging.
I loved reading all the funny (and some not-so-funny) stories about Tara Leigh’s life and experiences – and then hearing how they were used to strengthen her, encourage her, and help her grow. I am a big believer that God is in the small stuff – and that He’ll reveal Himself in some pretty strange places, and I loved seeing Tara Leigh’s observations become illustrations of God’s love, God’s patience, and God’s heart for His people. If we can all just open our eyes a little bit to what God’s showing us, we too will see that 193 pages won’t even be enough for us to list all of His blessings:
“Could we with ink the ocean fill,
and were the skies of parchmentmade,
were every stalk a quill
and every man a scribe by trade,
to write the love of God above
would drain the ocean dry
nor would the scroll contain the whole
though stretched from sky to sky.”
– “The Love of God” third stanza (adapted from a poem written in 1096.)
So, like I said… this entry isn’t really about the book, although it was wonderful and I give it a big A++ (or A “double-plus” as I recall from my elementary years). Tara Leigh does an outstanding job of sharing the pieces of her life and then weaving them together to show the “bigger picture” of God’s plan for her, for the community of Christ, and for me.
So, here’s to hindsight. And, here’s to books that I can read in a day.