Apr 122010

There is a woman named Anne Lamott, and she lives in California and writes down big beautiful stories and ideas that God gives her. She, together with Sister and husband and Jesus, convinced me that I could just go ahead and be myself already.

Before I met Anne Lamott, I thought I had to choose between God and myself. I’m not going to explain that right now, but the important thing is that her stories and ideas taught me that I didn’t have to make that choice. She taught me that those two things were the same choice, actually. When I read Anne Lamott, I feel like maybe I’m okay. I also feel like maybe she’s said it all, and I shouldn’t bother adding anything else. But then I remember that she would probably tell me otherwise, so I keep writing.

If my children don’t end up with enough money to go to college, it will be because I bought so many books by Anne Lamott. And I’ll be fine with that. I have given Traveling Mercies to one friend four different times. She didn’t have the heart to tell me until the fourth time, when she asked me if I was joking. I just want my friends to feel as free and kind and calm and understood as I do when I read her. I also like to buy her books repeatedly because each time I buy one, she gets a few bucks. So when I hand my money to the Borders cashier I imagine that I’m buying a coffee for one of her funny friends, or a flower to put in that beautiful hair that helped make her who she is. And I feel like I’m sending her a thank you card, without bothering her by actually sending her a thank you card.

Last week Krystal wrote on the Momastery fan page that Anne Lamott was going to be speaking and signing copies of her new book, Imperfect Birds, at a book store in Northern Virginia. I started sweating when I read that. But there was nothing I could do about it, because I don’t live there anymore. I was so relieved that there was nothing I could do about it. But then one of my best friends, Joanna, wrote on the wall that she would go. That she would Go Meet Anne Lamott For Me. And then I just shut the computer because I couldn’t take it anymore.

I don’t know how to tell you about Joanna. Maybe if Sister and I had another sister, in between us, it would be Joanna. She would be the artsy one who is always trying to make our lives more like art, more colorful and open for interpretation and outside the lines. And we would be like book ends for her.

So I wrote to Joanna and said don’t go, hoping that she would ignore that, and I spent the whole evening trying not to wonder if Joanna was listening to Anne Lamott for me. I ate a lot of popcorn.

The next morning, Joanna wrote me an email and told me that she was not going to tell me anything about what happened at the reading unless I called her. Joanna is always trying to turn me into a better friend by insisting I speak to her instead of just write to her. I find this annoying and unsettling and wise and brave. So I lied and told her I couldn’t call. Because of some phone problems. And she knew I was lying, but she gave in and wrote to me anyway. She wrote all of the beautiful things Anne Lamott said. And she told me that she had written a card to Anne Lamott. And that she had smiled and accepted the card with both hands and hugged the card to her chest and said, “Yay! I’ll take it home and read it tonight!” This is the card Joanna wrote to Anne Lamott. For me. For her friend.

When I saw these pictures, I sat at my computer and cried for a long time. Because I always thought that if Anne Lamott ever actually read my writing, my life would somehow be different. That it would be magical. But as I looked at the card Joanna made, and imagined her dragging her pregnant, tired self to that book store to make contact with a woman she’d never read, simply because I loved her, and she loved me, I realized suddenly that I didn’t need Anne Lamott to read my writing. Because she wasn’t the magical part of the moment at all. The magical part was Joanna. The magical part was that I have a friend who loves me so much that she wanted to thank the woman who helped me have the courage to be myself.

I don’t know how to get over that. I’m just so full about that.

Life’s magic is never on its way. It’s always already arrived. Joy is catching a glimpse of something extra-ordinary that we were lulled into thinking was ordinary for awhile. Like when we remember that each sun beam is actually a rainbow, because one hit the window at just the right angle. So we stop to look closer, and our eyes widen.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  28 Responses to “Thank You Card”

  1. I’m currently reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. My friend just told me about your blog. I loved this story and loved your quote on joy. Thanks for sharing your inspiring journey.

  2. Nothing is better than the joy felt from helping a friend. Jo, thanks for helping Glennon experience true friendship. And after reading the post from Jo today, thanks to Anne Lamott for encouraging others to do what they do best. How ironic is it that I bought my Mom one of Anne's books for her bday last week without knowing who she was??? It was screaming at me from the table at Barnes and Noble. Now I have to wait patiently until she finishes it!

  3. Chimmy, some of those verification words are so cool and seem to match the moment sometimes, if that makes sense! I've noticed that too and keep wanting to say what mine was!! it's like someone is watching!!! 😉


  4. My verification word was suprnal, meaning super natural, obviously.

    Magic. Everywhere.

  5. I heart this post. Thanks G and Jo!

  6. Terri,

    I love that!! It is such a true statement!!

  7. G -Also wanted to share this quote I have on my email signature line. Kind of random but it makes me think of some of the unselfish people here in your blog. (I put it in my signature line as a dig at folks around me who just can't see beyond their own nose and their own selfishness and rudeness – it drives me nuts).

    “Your true character is most accurately measured by how you treat those who can do nothing for you”


  8. Glennon I am inpired to read Anne Lamott and to get my daughter's to read her books too. I am always looking to read things that make me appreciate life more and make me think. How kind of your friend to do that and equally kind that you bought her a drafting table. I visited Jo's new web site and want to share that also with my artistic daughter who I think should write one day, continue drawing and perhaps blog. She is not one for the typical workforce rat race and I think her calling will be a book or something to help others along their rough road. I don't know how to guide my daughter's anymore (sad to say, but they are grown and I can only sit back and hope for the best with a little push here and there).

    Have a great day!


  9. Our Jo, Thanks so much for personally inviting Anne over.

    Our Anne, Come. Pull up a chair next to me. I will fill you in on the haps as best I can. This is a wonder full place where lovely castles are built. Glennon has a beauty full way of diverting the ocean. I'm so glad you're here. Love, Lou

  10. Joanna, you are awesome. I really hope our Anne reads the blog and loves it the way we do.

  11. Thank you for sharing some of the magic of your life– it helps me remember about the magic of mine.

    And when Anne invites you to the Bay Area to hang out, I'll pick you up at the airport and drive you to Marin. I'm dying to meet her too.

  12. Yay for Joanna! I hope Anne makes a stop by this blog. I think she'd like monkees and I think she'd find a new writer friend.

  13. So if you were to recommend an Anne book to someone, which one would you recommend?

    Great post as usual and wonderful perspective for you!

  14. Beautiful post. Anne would be lucky to count herself as a Monkee – this is an astounding group of women (and well, OK, it'd be cool for us too). I've read her work on and off over the years…I'm reading a collection of her short stories right now – so much passion. We don't always agree on everything but she always makes me think and appreciate life. Kind of like Momastery come to think of it. :)

    Thanks to G for sharing Jo with us. Thanks Jo for being such an awesome friend. What a wonderful message for all of us.

  15. I got chills reading this (and I'm wearing a sweater inside my very chilly office).

    I love this. I love you both. What an exceptional story already.


  16. wow … that last paragraph was just stunningly beautiful. Thank you.

  17. oh Glennon, you always have such wise words to share to truly make us appreciate our own lives! Another beautiful post that made my tears well. I am just about done with reading only assigned articles (for these classes I've had to take) and am so looking forward to enjoying many of the books and authors that you have written about. Thanks for sharing your live and friends with us!

  18. Oh Glennon… what a beautiful post about a beautiful friend. I didn't actually cry though til I read Anna See's comment about Anne Lamott reminding her of you… and me.

    May we all have friends who encourage and love us until we are full. And then encourage and love us some more.

  19. I think everyone should have an Anne Lamott–a role model you identify with completely who is just one step ahead of you, traveling in the direction you want your life to go. And everyone should have a Joanna–a friend who empathizes with you so much that helping fulfill your dreams feels to them like they're fulfilling theirs. Great story!

  20. Glennon- once she reads "you" I KNOW Anne is going to write to you. I just know it. Don't forget to post her response when she does for us vicarious followers of your two lives. Well done, Joanna!

  21. I wanted to let Kate know that I read her messages and didn't think anything about the library comment :) Other than the library frowns on when you write in the margains and when your 2 year old rips out pages and says "fix it"… or when you just don't return them because they are that good. Other than that, the library loves me 😉

  22. Awesome! Beautiful! Wow! When I read the review of the new book last week I of course thought of you IMMEDIATELY! I bet we could have a new, famous Monkee in our midst before long. Lamott reminds me of you, and of my dear sister.

  23. my apologies if i was telling carin what to do about getting library books. . i realize some people prefer to have their own at home and like them for whenever they want to read them.
    i'm sharing this blog with my writing group friend who also loves ann lamont.

  24. What a beautiful tribute to our beloved Jo. Glennon, thank you. Jo, thank you for making Sister so happy. And for making the world so much prettier and brighter and wilder.

    "Don't you hear it? She asked & I shook my head no & then she started to dance & suddenly there was music everywhere & it went on for a very long time & when I finally found words all I could say was thank you. "
    ~Brian Andreas (on Jo)


  25. Balling my eyes out.
    Carin — have you tried your public library for books? If you return them on time, they are free. If they are late, there is a small fine. You can renew them and probably have them out for a total of 6 weeks. Your township/borough could support your reading. You probably already know this. I was "let go" from our local library one year ago. Still not over being fired for the first time in my life, but I still support them. You
    While I was reading the blog, was thinking "why don't I have friends like this?" But like Maryann said, I need to work on being a friend. But, it all has to be with the right motive in mind. Have more to say, but my son missed the bus and have to drive him to school – he's in tears about getting a late slip. Kate

  26. "Life's magic is never on its way. It's always already arrived."

    This sentence is going up in my kitchen and on the mirror in my bathroom and in my car somewhere. It is one of the most profound sentences I have ever read! It is truth. I forget this truth ALL THE TIME! My life is perfect and magical right now. Not when everything I am hoping for happens. The magic is here. I am right where God wants me to be. I need to just take a deep breath and focus on this truth. Thank you for changing my morning. Love Love Love to you!!!
    XoXo Susie

  27. WOW!!! I say that so often in response to your posts. It's sort of like the guy in the commercial who keeps yells " Wow! Not that a great price" over and over. At first, I thought I wanted to have a friend like Jo and then I realized it is probably more important to learn to be a friend like Jo. she has agape love figured out and I am still only there a small percentage of the time. So now that is my goal.


  28. As always, Glennon, your friends are beautiful people with beautiful, wise, understanding and caring souls. Reading about your friends and family has made me step back and look at my own and has opened my eyes to the wonder that they are. I thank you for that.

    Thank you for sharing your rainbows with us. And adding to my reading list yet again. I still haven't finished Blue Like Jazz. I'm a little more than half way through (and I just got it 3 days ago) but now I'm going to have to head back to the bookstore and buy some more (which is always a dangerous thing for me. To go into any bookstore without spending $100.00 is a trial). Seriously, I need a sponser. Someone to fund my reading habit. Any takers?

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