Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Book Review: My Soul Feels Lean

My Soul Feels Lean: Poems of Loss and Restoration
by Joyce Rupp
Notre Dame: Sorin Books, 2013

My Soul Feels Lean: Poems of Loss and Restoration by Sr. Joyce Rupp has been sitting in my to-be-read pile for quite a while, but often I have found when that happens that I pick up the book right when I need it. This was one of those times. This is a book made for winter - the physical season of desolation, and more importantly, the spiritual season of emptiness.

With 106 meditative poems, Sr. Rupp, well-known as a writer, retreat leader, and conference speaker as well as being a Servant of Mary, tackles the themes of loneliness, fear, grief, disenchantment, mental illness, poverty, and sorrow. Sr. Rupp writes, "Loss is a natural occurrence in the flow of life. This reality implies the necessity and willingness to bid farewell to those who leave, to shed what no longer fits the shape of life, to let fall away those aspects of self that fail to enable growth, to skim off the details of the persona that keep one tethered to a false security."

The book is divided into two sections: "Loss" and "Restoration." While the first section focuses on pain, the second offers a glimpse of spring coming onto the horizon. It is the foundation of nature and of Christian hope - the cycle of life, death, and resurrection. "We won't be able to reestablish what we once had but we will receive some new seed of growth to take us farther on the road of personal transformation."

Sr. Rupp's poetry is beautiful and thought-provoking. Many moved me to tears. All were worth spending time with.

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