I have not done a very good job of keeping up with my book reviews. Maybe that should be a resolution for 2010. I have never been too keen on the whole resolution thing though, at least the part about making them only at the beginning of a new year. I think that every day provides the opportunity for a fresh start, not just January 1. No matter what broken road we've been down... last week, last month, last year... God is there every step of the way, making us stronger in our brokenness and giving us the courage to continue. Thanks to Pastor Jimmy Moore for reminding us that God is with us even when we find ourselves in a place we never imagined we would be.
That is just what happened to the author of the book we discussed today, Heart in the Right Place. Carolyn Jourdan was living life in the fast lane in Washington D.C. as an attorney on Capitol Hill when she was called home to east Tennessee to fill in for her mother as the receptionist in her physician father's office. She finds herself in a place she had not imagined spending her adult life, but a place that is comfortably, simply, refreshingly, home.
She tells the stories of her father's love for his patients, and their love for him. With compassion and humor, she allows us to experience the life of an old-fashioned, caring, country doctor. The doctor that not only knew his patient, but also knew "four generations of the patient's family and all his cousins too."
In addition to the stories she tells, the author shares bits of wisdom throughout the book. One of the characters in the book told Carolyn that "sometimes the best thing, the only thing, we can do for another person is just show up." I love that. So simple, and so true. Just show up.
Carolyn Jourdan is able to bring you right in the the office with her as she faces the challenges of each day. We feel her frustration, exasperation, and compassion as she reacquaints herself with the folks in her little community. When asked how she was able to observe another person's life properly, the author says simply, "by listening." She goes on to say, "To me the most significant thing in the world is observing the heroism of each individual's struggle to get on with life in the face of great obstacles." She recognizes the hero in each one of us, and allows us the opportunity to celebrate the heroism in everyday people.
We had a group of six for our book club today, and each of us enjoyed the book very much. We shared stories of a country doctor doing surgery in an upstairs bedroom of the house where Jessie lives, and of Norma's father being rushed to the hospital in the doctor's car. It seems that the doctor drove past his own house on the way, honked his horn to summon his wife outside, and shouted for her to call the hospital to tell them he was on his way with a patient. Kathleen told the story of assisting with the delivery of a baby in the back seat of a car in the hospital parking lot. Sarah enjoyed the part in the book that explained the origin of the word "testify." It is such a blessing to be with these women, and I love hearing their stories and sharing their wisdom. I think the title of the book is a prayer we share, to find our heart in the right place.