Anne Lamott’s “Overture: Lily Pads”, presents a chain of stumbled steps throughout her life by showing that each stagger has made her stronger and demonstrated that every misfortune and tribulation of her existence has allowed her to become one step closer to God. My objective is to obtain an enhanced understanding of the nature and function of Anne Lamott’s journey into her selected religion, which ends with her choosing Christianity by accepting Jesus’ everlasting love into her life.
I will explain her journey as well as how I think she understands the concept of being “born again”. I wish to present how her definition, perspective and understanding resembles or possibly even differs from that of my own, enabling me to examine and understand from another’s point of view. Anne Lamott’s mother and father were far from that of faith and had the mindset that believing meant that you were dim-witted. I think Lamott’s father had a huge impact on her prolonged journey into Christianity as she clearly explains his hatred of the faith.
Growing up yearning for his contentment and approval she pretends to dismiss God to make him happy. Her journey starts with a love for Catholic Church. Her ideas and perception of God stemmed from her friends beliefs and her own youthful personal viewpoints. She grew up in a house overflowing with alcohol, pot, and atheism, altogether unmistakably interfering with her walk with Christ. As a child she prayed alone: “I just know I always believed and that I did not tell a soul” (Lamott 624).
The quote shows the loneliness and confusion she must have experience at such a young age. Later Lamott begins to surround herself with her friend’s family who all read the bible, quote scripture and pray for their children each day, finally influencing her in a way that she seems comfortable and eager about. But as Lamott entered her mid teens she gradually drifted from faith and replaced it with alcohol, drugs and sex. I believe college made an enormous impact on why she chose Christianity as her religion of choice.
She becomes drawn to Judaism as an effect of having many Jewish college friends, but doesn’t actually convert. However after reading a Christian bible story in one of her classes she states, “I left class believing – accepting – that there was a God” (Lamott 635). Throughout the next few pages her views on Christianity continue to change, as she goes back and forth from having faith in Christ to revisiting her drug and sex crazed life. The meeting of a new preacher and visiting the Church from time to time guides her the way back to God.
Towards the last few pages of the writing Lamott is visited by Jesus after illness following a recent abortion, evaporating all of her disbeliefs, fears and enabling her to gradually dispose of the things she felt was immoral in her life, ending with a solid and blessed foundation of trust and faith. Anne Lamott clearly expresses the highs and lows of her Christian walk, enabling the audience to grasp the variety of influences and furthermore illustrating that her spirituality is actually the tie that binds them all together. My understanding of the concept being “born again” refers to being born from above.
From my viewpoint being “born again” means knowing that God and Jesus are real. Being overflowed with the Holy Spirit that brings the sensation of peace and understanding. To be born again is being forgiven for all past sin, no matter what obscurities or crimes you have committed in the past, as the glorious mercy of God is given freely. To be born again is to wipe your slate clean, to eliminate all bad habits and sins as well as sticking to the rules of the bible. Anne Lamott’s teenage understanding of “born again” was that of a negative one as a result of her newly saved English teacher.
Lamott writes; “I wept in Sue’s class at the betrayal, and the gentle patronizing efforts to console me” (631). This was a consequence of her teacher’s decision to now portray and educate her student’s through Christ’s eyes. This had a negative effect on Lamott, leading her in the opposite direction of Jesus, forcing her to obtain aggravated and argumentative behavior towards other Christians. Anne Lamott’s passage describes the moment of her conversion into Christianity, she writes; “I hung my head and said “Fuck it: I quite. I took a long deep breath and said out loud, “All right. You can come in” (643).
My personal idea of being born again perhaps wouldn’t include coarse language and just ‘allowing” Jesus in, but would include graveling at his feet, praying and yearning for his forgiveness of all my thoughtless sins. Which is why Anne Lamott’s understanding of being saved differs so very much from my own. Nearing the end of the text we learn of Anne Lamott’s baptism, following pregnancy through a man she was dating.
This additionally shows the difference between my own and Lamott’s beliefs. It demonstrates that she isn’t completely following Gods will, untraditionally creating a human life outside of the family structure God intended for every child. In ‘Corinthians 7:2’ of the ‘Holy Bible’ it explains that countless sinful people have immoral sex outside of wedlock and should first be married, so the saved can fulfill their passions in a moral way. Although I consider myself to be a fresh believer, I feel that I should practice Gods requests, in return teaching me right from wrong.
Although Anne Lamott’s Christian beliefs may not be considered perfect to some, in her defense she does not pretend to have her life entirely in order. It is a remarkable story of how Jesus has had such a prominent impact on her life. ‘Overture: Lily Pads’ is a clear and genuine example for any reader to relate to, as it is similar to our own journeys in life. It immediately goes to show that what we believe in the beginning is not always the conclusion we come to in the end. However the journey is all about the ride, helping us to grasp the process and exercise what we discover along the way.
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