Only a freak …

… would read the entire book in one sitting, stopping only for food and bathroom breaks.

Alas. I am that freak. Now, back to life!

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The obligatory Harry Potter post

The day of reckoning has arrived for Harry Potter fans worldwide. Millions of books shipped, twice as many hands cracking open spines of discovery, just as many eyes drinking in the words and revelations held within those 700-some pages that act as a capstone on a legendary series.

I’m physically anxious. I won’t lie to you–I’ll buy the book as soon as I can find it. And you can bet I’ll avoid going online as I read it so that I might not stumble onto anymore spoilers. I read one simple line on facebook completely by accident, and I feel as if my innocence, my Book Seven Virginity, as it were, has been ripped from me. I try to forget what I read, but trying only has the same effect as trying to get “It’s a Small World After All” out of one’s head. It doesn’t work. It sears the words into one’s brain like a hot branding iron. So, I suppose I’m disappointed. But I won’t let that ruin my enjoyment of this final installment of one of the most obsession-inducing sagas in youth literature.

All that said, maybe finally, after all this hype has died down, people will stop talking about Harry at every possible conscious moment. Sure, I’m a fan, but I have my limits as to how much of someone’s obsessions I can handle. So let’s all enjoy the final book, shed a few tears of parting, and then get on with life!

Can you be grateful for everything?

It seems to me that gratefulness is a joyous state once you’re experiencing it–but also a frightening prospect when realizing how far you are from it.

Can you truly be thankful for every single thing in life? Or is it impossible? Is it good for us? Is it unrealistic in the long run?

Here is an upcoming book series that challenges the normal assumption that we cannot possibly be thankful for the bad things in life:

“Thank God I…”™ explores individual stories (I suppose you could call them testimonies) from people who have been through hell on earth and come out the better for it.

Some of the working titles of this series are:

    Thank God My Husband Cheated On Me
    Thank God My Parents Divorced
    Thank God I Am Not Married
    Thank God I Was Sexually Molested
    Thank God I Was Raised By Two Moms
    Thank God I Was/Am A Battered Spouse
    Thank God I Was Emotionally Abused
    Thank God My Father Left Me
    Thank God I Had An Abortion
    Thank God I Can’t Conceive Children
    Thank God I Gave Up My Child
    Thank God My Child Is Autistic
    Thank God I Am A Bitch
    Thank God I Am Short
    Thank God I Had An Affair
    Thank God I Home Schooled

Uh, wow? Does anyone else feel emotions rise up when they read that list? If so, what emotions did you feel? And did anyone else laugh at the “bitch” one? ;)

At first, my jaw simply dropped to the ground. My knee-jerk reaction upon seeing the website was to say, “How dare you trivialize pain like that!” and to assume that the series was going to ignore the wrongness and pain of what happened in those situations.

According to the site:

John and Amanda [the creators] have made it their mission to compile a book series comprising stories of some of the most challenging issues we face in experiencing gratitude. These books will heal and open hearts around the globe by sharing one simple message: “Our greatest lessons come in the form of our greatest challenges!”

John Castagnini and Amanda Kroetsch are two inspired individuals whose lives have been touched and transformed by the gifts of gratitude and love. They have found time and time again that once one experiences the true healing power of being grateful for what is by being aware of what is, the natural human instinct is to share that gift with others.

The site is a bit heavy on the happy-flowery “healing and peace comes from within” vibe, but it did get me thinking about the topic of gratefulness in my life.

How do we become thankful for horrifying and grieving events? How does this even come about–if ever? Should we be grateful for hardship? Is thankfulness the sign of true healing? Does it always involve forgiveness? How long does it take to get from anguish and hurt to thankfulness and peace? Is God a part of that process? What’s the difference between being grateful and just accepting it? Does good always come out of bad situations?

So folks, help me figure this out. Do you think this series is as controversial as they claim it will be? Do you think it will flop? Is it a point that needs to be shared? Would you read any of them?