Dec 20

Spirituality Quotes: Anne Lamott Books

Spirituality is the focus on many of Anne Lamott‘s books, which differ in that way from such works of hers as Bird By Bird (see this previous post as well as this one on perfectionism).

The following are selected spirituality quotes from her writings, ordered here chronologically.

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith (1999)

Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.

Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith (2005)

I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything. I remembered something Father Tom had told me–that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.

Grace  (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith (2007)

Sometimes grace works like water wings when you feel you are sinking.

Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers (2012)

People always told me, “You’ve got to get a thicker skin,” like now they might say, jovially, “Let go and let God.” Believe me, if I could, I would, and in the meantime I feel like stabbing you in the forehead.

 Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair (2013)

Thread your needle, make a knot, find one place on the other piece of torn cloth where you can make one stitch that will hold. And do it again. And again. And again.

Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace (2014)

The worst possible thing you can do when you’re down in the dumps, tweaking, vaporous with victimized self-righteousness, or bored, is to take a walk with dying friends. They will ruin everything for you. First of all, friends like this may not even think of themselves as dying, although they clearly are, according to recent scans and gentle doctors’ reports. But no, they see themselves as fully alive. They are living and doing as much as they can, as well as they can, for as long as they can. They ruin your multitasking high, the bath of agitation, rumination, and judgment you wallow in, without the decency to come out and just say anything. They bust you by being grateful for the day, while you are obsessed with how thin your lashes have become and how wide your bottom.

Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy (2017)

Mercy is radical kindness. Mercy means offering or being offered aid in desperate straits. Mercy is not deserved. It involves absolving the unabsolvable, forgiving the unforgivable. Mercy brings us to the miracle of apology, given and accepted, to unashamed humility when we have erred or forgotten.

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope (2018)

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage (2021)

Some poet once wrote that we think we are drops in the ocean, but that we are really the ocean in drops, both minute and everything there is.