I read a lot. My mom used to find me in our living room sitting on the floor by my favorite chair, surrounded with piles of books I had checked out from the library. I cannot get enough.

I want to share a few I am loving, one at a time.

The first is a book I am re-reading. This is a sign of the very deepest kind of love.

It is a book of essays, most of a theological nature, in the trappings of a memoir. In the Shelter: Finding a home in the world, by Padraig O Tuama, is one of my all-time favorite reads.

O Tuama is a poet and theologian based in Belfast, Ireland. He writes like a poet. He writes like a man who understands trouble and refers often to The Troubles of his nation's history. He is a progressive follower of Jesus and talks of faith and the Scriptures in ways that are new and enchanting to me. He is also a gay man and speaks poignantly and painfully of his journey to find a way to become ok with himself, ok with himself in his body, and ok with himself in a church that often rejected him. He is self-deprecating in the best way and oh so kind.

Here is a little excerpt that took my breath away:

When I was a school chaplain a young person once wrote a prayer for our end-of-day service. He wrote it, he read it out, and then threw it away in the bin. I fished it out and framed it and hung it on my wall.

I do not know any other prayer to pray:

Dear God,

Thank you for putting me on this earth

but people can get lonely

and I don't like people being lonely

cause sometimes I am

and it's not a good feeling.

So I'd like you to pair them up

with someone who is not lonely

if you can.


Sad could be happy.

He read the prayer with such simple truth that I could thought I would break. The prayer had a picture at the end of a sad face in the middle of a sun. Sad could be happy, I understand this to say, or rainy could be sunny. There is such humble conditionality in the structure of the prayer.

I don't know if I've ever heard more beautiful usage of the three words 'If you can.' It's as if he understood that there are limits to what God can do but that there's no harm in asking.

(Padraig O Tuama, A Shelter In the World)

Is this not so beautiful?

That strike through of the word "not" made me teary-eyed.

The phrase "Sad could be happy," created an ache in my heart for all of us lonelies out here.

I could read Padraig's poetic, theological, personal thoughts all day.

The very first of my very favorites books, friends. By sharing it with you I am sharing my very heart.