Tag Archive | whine

They Almost Always Come Home (Book Review)

They Almost Always Come Home is a debut novel by Cynthia Ruchti and a book I recommend reading. I found it hard to put down once I started.

Libby’s marriage is toast and her husband has not returned from his supposed trip to the Canadian wilderness. Is he dead or alive? Is he really up in the wilderness or somewhere tropical with a love interest? Not Greg. Never Greg. Libby is ready to call her marriage quits but doesn’t know if her husband has taken the choice away from her. Is he injured? Then get him home so she can file for divorce. Is he dead? How do you plan a funeral with no body or proof?  Eventually she decides to go look for her husband herself so she can get closure on a dead-end marriage.  She takes two others with her. But what she initially seeks is not necessarily what God had in mind.

I hadn’t completely finished this novel when I had already established an opinion about it. The main character, Libby, is a whiner. Okay, I’m honest. She annoyed me at times! But written from the perspective of a wife whose husband is missing, what else could an author do but explore the emotions and thoughts that run rampant in this woman’s head?  Later in the  book, the reader is privy to the husband’s own journey as well.

Does he make it home? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out.

I do recommend this novel though for this reason. Good literature forces us to take a look at ourselves. Libby annoyed me because she reflected some of my own inner struggles (and my husband is not lost in the Canadian wilderness). Her journey back to God and to trusting in Him regardless of the outcome was subtle and refreshing because you saw how slowly God sometimes makes those changes in our hearts even though we would (most of the time) prefer the instant miracle.

Cynthia also does a wonderful job at painting the journey in Canada. I’ve never been there but almost feel like I was as I journeyed north with Libby, her friend Jen and her father-in-law Frank. The characters are well defined and relatable. Greg’s story, when we get to see it, gives a beautiful counterbalance to the struggle that this husband and wife faced, and the brutality of sometimes facing our own failures.

So go ahead. Get the book and read it. But be prepared that God might challenge  you when you do.

Advertisements

Can I have some Cheese with that Whine?

I hate whining. Seriously. My kids do it often and I find it annoying. As I sit and type, my son is next to me doing homework and complaining loudly all the while about everything under the sun.  The room we are in at school. Relational issues with friends. The work itself. The size of the desk he is sitting at. The light being on. Noise in the hallway.

We do this about the weather. We complain winter is too long, spring is too wet, summer is too hot (and full of mosquitoes) and that fall, well maybe we don’t complain much about fall except that it’s a prelude to winter.  It’s like we cannot just be content in the moment God has given us. Right here. Right now.

I know that deep down inside, I whine just as much as my eleven year old son. I want to blame all my problems on others just like he does. I complain and moan and groan to God about, well, pretty much everything. My weight, my wardrobe, money, marriage, kids, bed, messy desk, dishes, laundry, the impossible to keep clean toilet. . . I just may not speak the words out loud. But they are there.

Then God starts to change my circumstances. Not everything, but I can subtly see Him working. I asked for Him to show me that He was at work. I knew He was (He always is, even when I cannot see Him) and now, well, I don’t have a good excuse to whine so much. It’s a bit

humbling.

It kind of takes the wind out of my self-righteous sails so to speak.

We sometimes ask our kids if they want some cheese with their whine. (they don’t get the joke).

I don’t want to have a complaining spirit. I don’t want to be someone who is looking for the negative and basking in the glory of victimhood of events beyond my control. That sounds so

ugly.

I’m just vain enough to not want to be ugly before God. In reality, my whining is simply a cover for my anxiety and fear. This is why I so desperately need to be spending time daily meditating on truths from God’s Word. Then I need to reorient my thinking to who GOD says He is, regardless of my circumstances and rejoice in that, hold tight to Him and focus my thoughts on better things.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Php 4:8-9 ESV)

How about you? Do you have a list of complaints, (i.e. prayer requests) that you give to God but continue  to hold on to as a mantle of all that is wrong in your world? How do you fight against the urge to complain?