With wisdom, compassion, and gentle humor, Parker J. Palmer invites us to listen to the inner teacher and follow its leadings toward a sense of meaning and purpose. Telling stories from his own life and the lives of others who have made a difference, he shares insights gained from darkness and depression as well as fulfillment and joy, illuminating a pathway toward vocation for all who seek the true calling of their lives.
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If you have not yet read this slim volume, I think you will find something of value within its pages.
But Palmer writes for the extrovert (79). Strangely, in the ecclesiastical circles in which I move, extroversion is a minority perspective. Despite experiencing a vocation to leadership, the leaders of faith communities with whom I introspectively and all but apologetically run shoulders are predominately introverts. This may be a fundamental difference between the US and my spheres of OZ/NZ, or it may be a difference between Palmer's sphere of origin and my introspective Anglicanism/Episodecopalianism: who knows? But his world is very different to mine.
Palmer's call to the interior life therefore leave me cold. Get me out of there! Teach me instead to strive for the stars, teach me to dance, teach me to yell from the rooftop of my quivering faith! This book was not written for this wallflower faith with which I struggle day by day.
But it was written and written well for someone I am not. It may not, if I may grasp at one of the world's worst cliches, scratch where I itch, but I not despite by ego the Universal Man. It clearly touches those in a skin vastly different tonne - and yes I hear the egotism of my decrials! And, when at last I turn to the final chapter, I hear at last a voice that speaks to me
So no: not my book. But yes, a good book. But one that somehow passes this reader by - trapped in all the arrogance of that observation.
(2014 Review #11)
An example of the kind of thinking found in this book comes from this question it poses, "Do you waste time on anger, or invest it in hope?"
The book is about growth and change, realizing that change is neither easy not fast, but instead recommends, "Changing as slowly as ripening fruit." The kind of personal change that is like ripening fruit is usually called "growth," and this book presents some excellent ideas about the change that develops only through growth.
In short, it is a wonderful and insightful read and I am very glad to have experienced it.