Sunday, August 29, 2010

An Accidental Monk - Marylee Mitcham

Excerpts from An Accidental Monk :  "A monk, he said, is a man who is truly searching for God. My husband and I wanted to find a way of life capable of testing the truth of our desire. We longed to 'be made worthy of the promises of Christ,' but we were finding it difficult, in our ordinary circumstances, to grapple with the side of ourselves that wasn't truly searching for God."

"Not infrequently I am asked, 'But what do you do with yourself?' 'Not much,' I usually reply and wonder if I should mention how many hours it all takes. Next time I'll look my visitor right in the eye and say, 'I work at being peaceful' or 'I'm studying how to be content.' "  (Excerpts and Image from )

My Review: Marylee Mitcham and her husband had an overwhelming desire to discover God in their lives, both within and without. They moved to a small community and commenced living a spare, yet spiritually sating, life next to an order of monks. What follows in this book is a collection of her thoughts, experiences, poetry, and personal anecdotes from that time in her life.

Marylee Daniel Mitcham has become a friend of mine this past year and when she sent me a copy of her book to review I will admit to being completely intimidated by a 65-page book. What if I hate it? What if it’s no good? WHAT IF IT’S AWFUL? Then I’d be faced with that impossible task of letting her down easy while still remaining true to my promise of honest reviews. It’d be a nightmare.

You can imagine my relief, upon the book’s completion, that I can honestly say I thought it was fascinating! If you were to add a dash of the simplicity in Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a pinch of the “pray” in Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, and a heaping spoonful of spiritual examination and personal reflection, you would have Marylee Mitcham’s An Accidental Monk.

An Accidental Monk is an interesting glimpse of a woman’s search for connection with God on a sacred, personal level and would be an excellent beginning to a conversation about our own relationships with God. That having been said, I wish it were longer. I would have liked to hear more of her experiences and conclusions especially when she converted to the Mormon faith and how that either conformed with or altered her perceptions.

Marylee’s search for connection with God echoes my own desires in many ways. I want to see Him, feel Him, be Him in so many ways and yet at times I feel I am miserably short of my own goals. Marylee’s book offered the opportunity for some serious introspection and examination of my own beliefs and spoke to that woman inside of me who is all the things that I want to be and is simply waiting for me to catch up.

If you are interested in reading An Accidental Monk, you can either pay a great deal to get it online (it's out of print) or you can zip over to MaryLee's blog and read it online.  I suggest the latter, but it's your money.

Be sure to check out her newest book Blacktime Song by Rosalie Wolfe that should be appearing on our review pages soon!

My Rating: 4.25 Stars

Sum it up:  For its diminutive size, this book packs quite a contemplative punch.

1 comment:

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