Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace
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New York Times Bestseller
From the bestselling author of Stitches and Help, Thanks, Wow comes her long-awaited collection of new and selected essays on hope, joy, and grace.
Anne Lamott writes about faith, family, and community in essays that are both wise and irreverent. It’s an approach that has become her trademark. Now in Small Victories, Lamott offers a new message of hope that celebrates the triumph of light over the darkness in our lives. Our victories over hardship and pain may seem small, she writes, but they change us—our perceptions, our perspectives, and our lives. Lamott writes of forgiveness, restoration, and transformation, how we can turn toward love even in the most hopeless situations, how we find the joy in getting lost and our amazement in finally being found.
Profound and hilarious, honest and unexpected, the stories in Small Victories are proof that the human spirit is irrepressible.
As we stepped into a holding pen, my mind spun with worries about being taken hostage, having a shotgun strapped to my head with duct tape. I don’t think Jesus would have been thinking these same thoughts: everything in Him reached out with love and mercy and redemption. He taught that God is able to bring life from even the most death-dealing of circumstances, no matter where the terror alert level stands. Our group was allowed to view the outer walls of the prison, which was opened in 1852.
friends, all polite and clean-shaven, with Vietnam vets caps on. We stood within the circle of prison buildings, in the center of concrete cell blocks. The grounds are brightly landscaped by the inmates, but the buildings look like a child’s play structure that has been left outside for a hundred years—a plastic and castley hodgepodge of stone and concrete, ornate, crumbly, deteriorated. There’s razor wire everywhere, and a constant clanging and banging of gates and cells and doors. Guards carry
phone that she calls me on frequently. Sometimes when I am out of town, I imagine her calling me and chatting away on her phone. I was gone for a week of teaching at the end of summer this year, and I kept thinking of her. I almost called California to hear her voice. I was working too hard and staying up too late every night, and the people I was with were drinking a lot. I started to feel like a tired, wired little kid at a birthday party who has had way too much sugar, who is in all ways on
have died, badly, while the worst thrive. The younger middle-aged people struggle with the same financial, substance, and marital crises that their parents did, and the older middle-aged people are, like me, no longer even late-middle-aged. We’re early old age, with failing memories, hearing loss, and gum disease. And also, while I hate to sound pessimistic, there are also new, tiny, defenseless people who are probably doomed, too, to the mental ruin of ceaseless striving. What most of us live by
dancing. It was disconcerting, because the truth was, or at least the visible reality was, that besides a melancholy hula early in the evening, only a few people danced while I was there. But there was a kind of Rumi dancing under way: “Dance when you’re broken open. Dance if you’ve torn the bandage off . . .” People danced unpartnered but not alone, as in certain square dances. In all that warmth and soft light we were like flecks in olive oil, or dust motes in a beam of sun, swirling and