A few more excerpts from Mary Karr’s wondrously wise Lit: A Memoir, ht JZ:

“If you live in the dark a long time and the sun comes out, you do not cross into it whistling. There’s an initial uprush of relief at first, then — for me, anyway — a profound dislocation. My old assumptions about how the world works are buried, yet my new ones aren’t yet operational. There been a death of sorts, but without a few days in hell, no resurrection is possible. You don’t have to be Christian for the metaphor to make sense, psychologically speaking… Crazy. What I’ve always feared the most — that I’d go cuckoo, like my mother — seems to be happening. I don’t hallucinate. I lack any grandiose Napoleonic fantasy. But every aspect of my existence has canted me deeper in a dark space. The mind I thought would save me from the trailer-park existence I was born to is not — as I’ve been led to believe — my central advantage.”  p. 260

“Vis-a-vis God speaking to me, I don’t mean the voice of Charlton Heston playing Moses booming from on high, but reversals of attitude so contrary to my typical thoughts — so solidly true — as to seem divinely external.” p. 276

“After ten months praying in a cave in Manresa, St. Ignatius received a vision that permitted him to see God in all things — the stated goal of his Spiritual Exercises, which are part of each Jesuit’s novitiate. This doesn’t innately appeal to me. Despite my conversion, I don’t much care to see God in all things. I prefer to find God in circumstances I think up in advance, at home in my spare time — circumstances God will fulfill for me like a gumball machine when I put the penny of my prayer into it. It’s not virtue that leads me to the Exercises but pain. Only a flame-thrower on my ass ever drives me to knock-knock-knock on heaven’s door. Pain, in my case, is the sole stimulus for righteous action.” (pp. 363-364)