A number of thoughts have stayed with me since reading Still by Lauren Winner. My book review is here.
One is, I wonder if her mid-faith crisis would have happened anyway. Lauren alludes to this as she writes about other people’s experience of doubt without a triggering experience. In Lauren’s case, it appears her faith was built on shaky foundations. She seems dependant on others, either through attending church services with its many rituals that provided her with a sense of security or through her many friends who provided her with emotional support.
Second is her acknowledgement that although she prayed a lot she admits to rarely reading the Bible which surprised me greatly as she loves books, is well educated and widely read. Also in her previous memoir, Girl Meets God, she mentions reading the Bible. So why not now? It seems she expected to have a vibrant faith without this, but I’m not sure how you can have one without the other.
Third is her grief (or lack of it) over losing her mother to cancer. She comments that she doesn’t miss her even though she moved nearer her mother following her diagnosis. It seems unlikely that you wouldn’t miss someone who has been part of your life for over 25 years. It’s for this reason I question whether the death of her mother had more impact on her marriage than she realized.
Fourth is her description of anxiety. It is a very honest and detailed account of her experience of panic attacks and debilitating anxiety. Yet it is also about how she worked towards overcoming it, or at least, not allowing it to control her behaviour. This was one of the most helpful depictions of anxiety that I have come across.
Fifth is Lauren gives little insight into why her marriage failed. I understand her need of privacy for both herself and her husband. However I am curious. She makes the comment that she was unhappy for a very long time but it is completely unclear about what caused her unhappiness. She paints herself as the villain – needy, ungrateful, demanding and her husband as the saint – caring, spiritually mature and faithful. Is this an accurate portrayal? I also wonder if the failure of her marriage is not connected with the unhealthy relationships she had with some of her boyfriends which she describes in her earlier book. She appears to have dealt with this through confession and repentance but I suspect there may have been underlying issues she didn’t deal with.
The book provides many thought provoking moments.