Friday, April 30, 2010


Whenever I'm posting a status on Facebook, or even telling a story here, I'm always very careful not to use too many exclamation points. Even if I'm truly enthusiastic or excited about something, I don't want to use too many !!! because it appears juvenile or maybe even sarcastic. But the other day when Mia came home from school, she was telling me about her day (as usual), and it seemed like every single sentence out of her mouth should have been punctuated by an exclamation point." Mommy! Guess what happened at school today! I played with Bailey a game about the Cheetah Girls!" Even when she's sad or having a bad day, it's still worthy of an exclamation point." Mommy! I had the worst day of my life! I forgot to bring back my library book! Gabby and Bailey were mad at me!"

It made me think about how differently adults and children look at life. To a child, every day is a new opportunity for something completely wonderful to happen, and they are open to it. As adults, we tend to live our praying that nothing dramatic will happen, trying to remain safe. We want our lives to be filled with periods rather than exclamation points, and as our children age, we try to make them more like us. Settle down. Shhh, be quiet. Keep your voice down. Not now, honey.

But consider this: Jesus doesn't tell the children to be like adults, he tell his disciples to be more like children. For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, "I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Matthew 18:12

One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: "Let the children alone, don't prevent them from coming to me. God's kingdom is made up of people like these." Matthew 19:13

"Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." Mark 10:13

I think Mia may have something to teach each of us- live in the exclamation points! Life is filled with possibility! God loves you! Give it a try, and let me know how it works for you.

Fragile by Chris Katsaropoulos is an experiential novel about what pulls us together and apart. Amelia Geist saved herself for her childhood love, Tris Holloway, even though he has long abandoned her. Holly Schenk is just trying to make ends meet to take care of her two daughters alone, but she can't seem to want the right man. Tris, Amelia's love, is ready to retire, but his wife has tired of him and is cleaning out all remnants of their life together while he tries to find purpose in the last days of his job. Three very different people who are all struggling to feel love and be loved are all portrayed as fragile and vulnerable by Katsaropoulos. The narration jumps from one character to the next without notice right in the middle of a sentence which takes a little getting used to, but when the story picks up with the meeting of Amelia and Holly, it becomes natural, giving the novel a very organic and authentic voice. Amelia realizes that when she turned her back on love after losing Tris, she wasted much of her life. Holly is constantly seeking men who will only abuse and leave her while ignoring the good man right in front of her. Tris settled for his wife when all he really wanted was Amelia and is now paying for it in a bitter marriage. The stories are sad, but Katsaropoulos does a wonderful job of keeping the thread of hope alive in each of them, as though a happy ending is just around the corner. It's a small story with a large impact.

Thank you to Smith Publicity for providing me with a copy of this book for review.