Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sometimes a Light Surprises

I would be remiss if I didn't say something today about Michael Jackson's death. When Thriller hit the charts in 1984, I was almost eleven years old and completely head over heels in love with Quiet Riot. I spent more time listening to the hard rock radio stations than I did to the pop stations, but I did have a major soft spot for Duran Duran. My friends and I refused to listen to him because we were too busy swooning over Simon LeBon and Roger Taylor (right Aileen?). When other people talked about his music or sang along to the radio, I scoffed and pshawed.

I am revealing a secret to you tonight that I've never told another living soul (except for my husband last night while we were watching one of the many MJ specials on TV). I kept a copy of Thriller hidden in my bottom dresser drawer, and when I was in my room alone, I would take it out and play it. I memorized the lyrics to every song and secretly scorned those who only knew the ones that got radioplay.

I like some of the music on Bad, but I enjoyed Weird Al's parodies far more, and when MJ was accused to sexual abuse, I just tuned him out, stopped listening to his music, ignored him on TV, and that describes where I was until Thursday when I heard the news. Then I mourned for a life lost too soon, for so much potential wasted, and for a brilliant man who never seemed to realize that he was truly loved by God and didn't need to change his appearance or buy more and more toys and exotic pets. God loved him just as he was. I'll be praying for his children in the days to come in the hope that they will be placed where they will receive love and security and the knowledge of the Lord.

Sometimes a Light Surprises
by Jamie Langston Turner is a poignant and beautifully written novel about how the quiet faith of just one person can make ripples and touch everyone around her. Ben Buckley has removed himself for the most part from the emotion of living after the murder of his wife Chloe twenty-one years ago. He turned over the care of his four children to his mother, allowing her to make excuses for his absence until he's no longer a part of any of their lives. Kelly Kovatch has lived a sheltered life in a Christian home-schooled family of eleven children until her mother's diagnosis of cancer forces her to seek a job at Ben's store as a designer. He initially gives her the job out of a bit of pity, but her unshakable faith and gentle spirit brings change to everyone who works at the store, including Ben's crotchety secretary Caroline, who decides to investigate Chloe's murder for herself. This is not a wildly romantic or action-packed novel. It almost feels like peeking into someone's real life and watching in wonder. Every character is fully realized; no stereotypes or caricatures here! Ben has filled his life with rituals and busyness to escape the gaping hole in his life left by the murder of Chloe and the defection of his children. His quiet awakening corresponds with the emergence of Kelly's confidence. The story builds quietly, one small piece placed upon another until it ends, naturally, wonderfully. It's a terrific book to lose yourself in for an afternoon.

Brandilyn Collins is best known for writing Seatbelt Suspense. She also writes a hilarious and insightful blog called Forensics & Faith. Her post from Thursday was so good, I had to share it with you!


Audra said...

LOL - That took a lot of courage to admit your hidden treasure. :)