Tuesday, October 7, 2014

On Laura Boggess's 'Playdates with God'

This desire that hums inside of me . . .
reminds me that I am on a journey, 
that I was created for more.

Every moment is sacred when we pay attention to it.
~ Laura Boggess

What if . . ? It's a question too few of us ask.

In its answer, suggests writer Laura Boggess, is a key to what "hums inside", that often unarticulated "hunger" for spiritual intimacy with life—all of God's creation.

In her new book Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-up World (Leafwood Publishers, October 7, 2014), officially debuting today, Boggess describes how the life paths she'd been choosing were "scarred and filled with regret". As the third of four children in her family, she admits frankly, she'd felt "invisible. Nothing special, for sure." Adulthood did not allay the keenly felt emptiness, and neither rule-following and conformity nor busyness nor things nor other people ever seemed to fill an ever-deeper pit.

As she shows us in her book, it took naming, acknowledging, and accepting her need for "that crazy, wild, giddy feeling of falling in love" for Boggess to leave behind fears and feelings of inadequacy, to discover that each day she wakes to is one more invitation to experience "God-joy", the kind of unrestrained delight that children know when they see a  thing of wonder for the first time.

While seeing with new eyes, reframing her perspective, gives Boggess a new compass point to follow, it is her willingness to trust herself to find the holy in every ordinary day and especially to re-engage through play that allows her to "commune with" and fully "cultivate" her relationship with God. 

Her weekly "playdates", which she describes as "practicing falling in love with God", sometimes call for watching birds at their feeder; at others, lying in a hammock and napping, taking a long run at a "just right" time to "see the sky catch on fire", photographing wildflowers, or simply remembering that first-love feeling. One, my favorite Boggess playdate, is giving in to the urge to jump on a neighbor's trampoline, which is so unrestrained and freeing that Boggess collapses in a fit of laughter. Another is lying in wait to Super Soak a squirrel that "doesn't know what hit him." 

Boggess complements vignettes of her playdates and descriptions of the delight she finds in them with scripture, Bible stories, and quotes from a wide range of readings in literature, religion, philosophy, psychology, art, and spirituality. Her references serve as well-constructed bridges between her observations and experiences and lead to insightful commentary on faith, trust, and being alive.

Coherent, beautifully written, Playdates with God is, ultimately, a rediscovery of self in all its joyous dimensions, of how "up-looking" — the way a child does at the first sign of snow — rewires us and reopens our eyes "wide to wonder".

Playdates with God is available in print and digitally for Kindle.

A content editor at The High Calling, Laura Boggess is the author of two books of fiction for teens: Brody's Story and Derek's Story (OakTara, 2014). Holder of a master's degree in clinical psychologist, she works at a medical rehabilitation hospital in West Virginia, where she makes her home with her husband and two sons.

Boggess blogs at chasing the blue flower, and sometimes shares her stories at TweetSpeak Poetry.

Laura Boggess on FaceBookTwitter, and Pinterest

Watch a trailer about the book:


S. Etole said...

Looking forward to reading this at some point. Always enjoy your reviews.

Laura Boggess said...

Maureen, I love reading about my book through your eyes. Thank you for sharing my work with your readers. I'm forever in your debt for planting the seed of the title, "Playdates with God." So very grateful.