i’d rather be teary

The new Kristin Hannah book, The Four Winds, was released on February 5th.   I checked it out that day, being a librarian has some pretty cool benefits.  First off, if you have not read any of her books, then get on it.  Secondly, if you don’t read female authors because you are not a fan of “domestic” fiction, then you are being ignorant, yep, I said it. 

Hannah’s new book is about the Dust Bowl; I didn’t say her books were fun.  All last week I came in to work and talked about the book, my poor staff.  Jessica mentioned that Ken Burns had done a documentary on the Dust Bowl.  If you don’t know who Ken Burns is, then again, I will say to get on it, his documentary films are outstanding.  There was one problem, for some reason we do not have this particular doc in our physical collection (it is available on Hoopla, just now realized that), I will take care of that.  At the time, I was sure I could find it on one of my many streaming apps at home.  No such luck, well not without a little bit of added expense.  I was able to add PBS Documentaries to my existing Amazon Prime account, $3.99 a month or a 7-day free-trial.  I joked that I hoped we would get the 14” of snow predicted so that I could watch all the documentaries in my 7-day trial.  Hmmm, sorry about that. 

I did watch Burn’s Dust Bowl and some others, but I spent most of my time reading.  The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and Whose Names Are Unknown by Sanora Babb (available on Hoopla) were mentioned in Burn’s documentary.  This lead me to read The Grapes of Wrath after I had finished The Four Winds.  In one of my college history classes I was required to read The Great Gatsby and, I thought, The Grapes of Wrath.  I found out this week I had never read The Grapes of Wrath, but instead had read The Jungle, so after Grapes I reread The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.  If you have read either one of these books, then you realize that I know how to have a good time. 

The Four Winds and The Grapes of Wrath are about the Dust Bowl; The Jungle starts a few years before that.  All 3 of the books discuss immigration and those who suffer through it, amongst a bunch of other depressing and awful things, like starvation, poor sanitation, death, yep, lots of fun stuff. 

I knew that my reading would influence this bookworm, and I was very concerned I would go to dark, seriously, the material begged for it.  Yesterday, that all changed. 

My pastor, Lora Cunningham, lost her battle with cancer.  This was the lady that told me it was okay to run to God when I got sick, not in shame, but as in “it is what we do.”  She was so calm and those words blessed me in a way that I can only hope she understood.  No way could I write about her and have it be sandwiched in a negative bookworm.

I am going to steal some words from my friend, Michelle, it’s okay, she had them on Facebook. “Our last texting conversation was about how I wanted to yell at God and that his plan (for her) kind of sucked. She told me to go ahead and “rail” at him because he was mighty and could take it.  Which led me to bringing up how emotional we (I) get about everything. She replied, “Life weighs on our emotions. But can you imagine if it didn’t? I personally would rather be teary than distant to life.”  This was how she talked, so wise, so calm.  I can honestly say she changed me and saved me from being a person that just didn’t know how they felt about the “church” anymore.  She also saved this bookworm.

Thinking of her, made me look at all that I had been reading in whole new way.  Yes, there is much strife in those books, that time period, but there are so many instances of people lifting each other up.  The Dust Bowl brought about some ugly, but the “Okies” stood together, when they had nothing, they still shared.  Jurgis Rudkis lived such an awful existence, at one point of the book I had to put it down, it just was too much.  When I came back, he left Chicago and found healing in the country.  The country is not the end of the book, and if you know the ending of The Grapes of Wrath, well things don’t end with happily ever after.  Life was hard and guess what, it still is.  Sometimes it seems like God’s plan sucks, so rail, scream, whatever it takes, but we must still lift each other up. 

Lora’s daughter shared when Lora chose to go into hospice, “…she wanted all of her friends and family to know she is OK and that she is still praying for you all. Even through all this, her concern has remained with her family, friends, and her congregations.”  Yep, be that. 

Upcoming Events: 2/24 Story Time in the Community room (masks required for adults) at 10am, 2/27 1000 Books Before Kindergarten graduation at 10:30am, 3/2 Book Club at 6:30pm