It amazes me when the right book comes to me just when I need it. Last week a friend recommended Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat. Pray. Love. I had read the reviews and walked by it in bookstores for months, thinking that I would probably like it, but when I received the recommendation last week, I was particularly desperate for advice about reaching out to God.
For those of you who haven’t read it–and I strongly recommend that you do–Gilbert opens the book sobbing on the floor of her bathroom, desperate for guidance about whether to leave her marriage. She asks God for help, and receives a clear answer back. The answer is, “Go to bed, Elizabeth,” and what she writes about this is that she recognizes it as wisdom. “True wisdom,” Gilbert writes, “gives the only possible answer at any given moment” (p. 16).
It’s a great definition. Typically I expect that real insight will allow me to solve all of my problems at once. I know this is ridiculous when I am being rational, but suffering has a way of making me want to know everything all at once. Gilbert’s reminder that we only need to know the best next step strikes me as great advice, both because we can only take one step at a time, and also because it reminds us to narrow our focus on a problem to the tiny portion of it that we can handle right away.
Brilliant. (Plus, the rest of the book is funny and charming.)