Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Book Review: Somewhere More Holy

Somewhere More Holy: Stories from a Bewildered Father, Stumbling Husband, Reluctant Handyman, and Prodigal Son by Tony Woodlief

Mr. Woodlief is a non-Catholic Christian who writes in this book of the holiness found in daily life with a wife and family. What sets this book apart from so many others is his openness about his suffering after the death of his daughter to cancer when she was just three, his descent into sin and adultery, his desire to end his life, and his continuing recovery. It is a powerful testament to the loving forgiveness of the Lord.

Often we read about the problem of evil and the forgiveness of God and much of it seems like empty platitudes. Mr. Woodlief's honesty about his family's sorrow and suffering and the goodness of life and faith despite it offers those who suffer and those weep for those they see in pain and trapped in sinful lives a real hope that God is there with you, suffering and weeping, and that life is still worth living.

That's just the introduction. The rest of the book is a collection of essays and vignettes centered around different rooms of a house (bedroom, schoolroom, living room, and so on) that depict how our faith infuses a family's house and life.
We began to think that God was out there--in heaven, a sunset, an ornate temple, a megachurch. We forgot that he has always come to where we are, to dwell with us. We began to think of him as being somewhere else, and told ourselves that we had to get dressed up, put on smiles, and go out to find him.
Writing from experience, he encourages us to remember that what we see is not the entire truth.
I'm meeting more and more parents who have the same suspicion that someone else could do it better. Maybe that's because we all see the wretchedness inside ourselves, but very little of what resides in other people. We fall into the error of thinking that what we see of others--which is almost always the best of them--is what they mostly are. And we conclude that our best, which is of course what we try to show other people, is really just a contrivance, and not part of the real us.
If you are struggling to see the value of faith in your daily life, you might want to read this book.

I checked this book out from the library.

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