Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Love Kate Braestrup


This is the second book I've read by Kate Braestrup, and she is now one of my favorite authors. The straightforward, loving, down-to-earth, deeply spiritual way she writes about life - the everyday, the transcendent, and the most tragic and trying of times - is a real treasure.

I've never been drawn to prayer as a practice before, but she has laid it out in a way that makes me understand how this practice could have great value. Prayer need not be "to" anyone or any deity, but is an expression of all that we feel inside. It's a beautiful book, and although I have not started a daily prayer practice yet, I just might.

The true realist should expect what is most likely. That which is most likely is nothing. "Nothing is impossible!" people say, but actually everything Except nothing is impossible. Nothingness is the most possible - indeed, the most Probable - thing in the cosmos. Not only is there no inevitability involved when the fry cook gives you your french fries, the odds are a bazillion to one against either of you (or the potatoes) existing at all.
Yet here you are!
And here I am! How cool is this!
I can't thank myself for the impossible fact of my existence. With all due respect, I can't thank you for it, either. Maybe I don't have to thank anyone for it - but I am thankful dammit! And I'm sure it's bad for my blood pressure to keep all that thankfulness bottled up inside.
If, as my husband defines it, disappointment is the feeling you get when reality doesn't meet your expectations, gratitude is the feeling you get when reality Exceeds your expectations. The truly rational, realistic person should feel overwhelmingly grateful all the time.

Kate Braestrup, Beginner's Grace


  1. A book I've made part of my "armchair library" is J. Douglas Bottorff's A Practicle Guide to Meditation and Prayer". Kate's book sounds very interesting.

  2. I loved her first book. I will have the get this one. I am glad to hear a good review of it!

  3. I just finished listening to and enjoyed the audio book, Beginner's Grace. I enjoyed her down to earth approach. I also liked her approach to defining prayer. I really connected with her definition of mercy.."mercy is what we call it when power is restrained for the sake of love". However, Kate characterized God as too anthropomorphic for me.