I might not have chosen this book, Terrifying Freedom by Linda Anne Smith except I noticed the author was Canadian.
There were a few worrying moments in the first part when I wondered if I was reading “just another love story.”
It is. Yet a bigger Love Story than I initially imagined. It is a compelling story of a spiritual journey told in three movements.
I’ll use three significant quotes to highlight the spiritual thresholds Sister Rebecca Marise navigates.
In the beginning, the character Rebecca is shrouded in workplace mystery and seemingly deep in a great suffering. Her journey is neither focussed nor reconciled. She is living with a profound sense of disorientation.
Rebecca said quietly, “Have you ever had the wind knocked out of you . . . totally? You’re stunned, caught in the pain. A rhythm you’ve taken for granted is . . . is ruptured . . . you can’t even gasp. Everything is just a blur, out of focus . . . nothing seems right . . . nothing feels familiar.”
Then, in Part 2 we are taken to the circumstances that brought rupture and the sudden realization that her chosen vocation is over.
It’s all a charade . . . March to the beat of the drum, accept everything with trust. . . .It’s idyllic, inspiring . . . unearthly. Only blind faith holds it all together. Once you begin to question, the underside appears—knotted, tangled, ravelled. The distortion, the control . . . an utter certainty that’s . . . that’s . . . downright arrogant, even mean. And it’s all in the name of Jesus.”
Rebecca seeks redemption by a return to her former life and the geography of her disorientation. There is reorientation. What was forged in suffering is now celebrated as “terrifying freedom.”
A sense of peace settled within her, a sense of being embraced by Something or Someone much larger than herself. It was beyond her yet she could touch it, allusive yet she could sense it. She stood before it—within it—surrounded and immersed in a loving, mysterious Presence. It was in the bleating goats, the rustling leaves, the woman tending her garden. In this love she felt valued, appreciated, unjudged, trusted. She didn’t need to know all the answers, she didn’t need to be sure of the future, she didn’t have to get it right. Only be open, honest, loving, and seeking.
This is a story of a notable spiritual journey. It is also a significant condemnation of institutional religion that demands blind idealism, unquestioning obedience, and a lack of social engagement. Timely.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. #TerrifyingFreedomSpeakeasy