I was contacted to complete a review of the book, The Voice That Calls You Home by Andrea Raynor. More than happy to read a new book, I completed it in about two days.
by Andrea Raynor
About The Book:
As a hospice chaplain, cancer survivor, and a chaplain at Ground Zero following September 11, Andrea Raynor has gained a keen perspective on the meaning of life and death, comfort and grief. Through her own experiences, Raynor reminds readers that even in the most dire of circumstances, we still have the opportunity to recognize beauty, to be inspired by the tenacity of the human spirit, and to feel connected to something greater.
Raynor acknowledges that we may not be able to prevent the difficulties that come in life, but we can always choose the way in which we face them. She urges us not to "live with our heads down, our eyes closed, and our hands in our pockets." Instead, she prompts us to remain open to the blessings that are all around us and to face life's challenges head-on -- "to increase our courage, re-new our hope, and unite us in the knowledge that we are not alone."
In the tradition of Anne Lamott and Kate Braestrup, The Voice That Calls You Home is a warm, personal, and practical guide to appreciating the wondrous world we live in, offering perspective on how we can bear the sorrows that are sure to come with a steady eye and a sense of hope, and find the connection between the spiritual and the everyday.
I definitely learned a few things and was reminded of a few things.
I am an emotional person and the book was definitely a tear jerker. I cried quite a bit through the first segment of the book. I was extremely touched by the acts of love shown by Andrea Raynor and others to those in hospice care. The story about the woman, who after her husband passed, sponge-bathed him before the funeral home came to get him was especially touching. It just showed so much love and compassion.
The story from her working at the Pine Street Inn, about the drunken man with no ID, was also very touching. It really got me when he asked her if she was the one that God sent to him. It's so true that we find God in the "broken, outcast and despised". Those who are sick need a physician, not those who are well. I feel we can definitely get caught up in separating ourselves out by status. Sometimes thinking one is more important than another or more worthy of love than another.
I did find it extremely hard to read about Andrea's experience during 9-11. It was just more than I wanted to know about it and wasn't quite expecting it to hit me the way it did. After reading it though, I have a new appreciation for those who worked so hard during those months. I can't even begin to imagine how hard it would have been to do their jobs.
She noted how it was so good to see and hear people still planning for the future after 9-11. It was such a heinous act and would be easy for people to stop life and live in fear of the next bad thing or to think why bring a child in to this. However, I love what she says..."But to live with the kind of faith that does not depend on life going well is to live freely". That is definitely so true!
I was reminded that we shouldn't ask why so much but to just accept things that happen and deal with them in the best way that we can. Searching for ways that we can grow in our circumstances instead of questioning everything.
She was very open and honest when she talked about her experience with breast cancer. I definitely appreciated that honesty. It made me sad to read of her awful experience when she had her second lumpectomy. How they treated her so generically and cold. It's sad that when someone is experiencing something so very scary and life changing that some medical professionals can't see through to the person. How they might feel, what they might be going through. I'm very glad that she was able to find a better facility and doctor to help her.
I did have a few things I didn't like about the book. Ultimately, they related to personal beliefs and I know those vary from person to person. I didn't quite feel comfortable with a minister who sought out a psychic and I felt that she had a more new age religion feel to her book. She mentioned Buddah a few times and I am one who believes that you can't pull a little of this and a little of that from different religions. However, I am also one who can take what I like from a book and leave what I don't like. I realize not everyone believes the same and we all deserve respect for the way we believe.
To be honest, I didn't feel it to be as inspirational as I thought it would be. I think my expectations were too high. I definitely found nuggets of inspiration. It would be an especially good read if you're trying to deal with grief of losing a loved one. I think it was a story definitely worth telling and she has lived a very amazing life. So I think all in all it's a good read. You just need a box of tissues handy if you're like me!
Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of the book but was not compensated in any other way for my review. These opinions are mine and only mine. Thanks!