February 11, 2009 The week has been eventful—the kind of week which leaves me mulling over many conversations and not knowing how to share much from any of them. How do you share the intimacy of drive time with a friend? Or how do you share the reconnecting with a friend "back home" for a funeral? How do you share the thoughts treasured up in a mother's heart? Or, how do you get inside an author's head and share with the world what you think you hear him saying?
Since the first three are personal—not really meant for sharing anyway—I guess I'll go for the last, since I promised to let you know my thoughts on The Shack following my second reading of it; and since it's the kind of book that is startlingly personal, like a diary, while at the same time meant for the rest of us to read.
Even after the second reading of the book, especially the forward and end notes, there are still a few things that make me uncomfortable. I don't mean uncomfortable as in squeamish. I mean uncomfortable as in, "Is it really OK to take those kind of liberties even in a fictional, allegorical kind of dialog?"
Rereading helped me understand, I think, the author's using the approach he did for the sake of the character. Mack was in need of someone gentle to come alongside him and carry him to a place of forgiveness. Perhaps these words from the author, Wm. Paul Young, about the lead character, sum up his purpose in writing this novel:
"And Mack? Well, he's a human being that continues through a process of change, like the rest of us. Only he welcomes it while I tend to resist it. I have noticed that he loves larger than most, is quick to forgive, and even quicker to ask for forgiveness. The transformations in him have caused quite a ripple through his community of relationships—and not all of them easy. But I have to tell you that I've never been around another adult who lives life with such simplicity and joy. Somehow he has become a child again. Or maybe more accurately, he's become the child he never was allowed to be, abiding in simple trust and wonder. He embraces even the darker shades of life as part of some incredibly rich and profound tapestry; crafted masterfully by invisible hands of love.''