One of the main characters, Scott Kyle's, dream of leaving his hometown really resonated with me. Like Scott, my hometown held painful memories, such as my parents’ divorce, horrible school years including being tormented by a classmate, as well as some not-so-good dating choices. The idea of a fresh start, away from the haunting memories, was very appealing. I dreamt of being a famous writer, and returning only, as Scott expressed, “to share in my great successes.” For his part, Scott felt no nostalgia for the town in which he grown up and from which he'd worked so hard to escape, and before I ended up settled back into the town, neither did I.
"Seeing his hometown her [Megan’s] eyes helped him realize that many of his memories of Lexington as a dull, dingy little town had been formed over a decade earlier, in the imagination of a sullen high school student. It might not be where he wanted to spend the rest of his life but it wasn't the end of the world." Unlike Scott, who did get out of his home town, I never really left. I married at 21 years of age, and after a few years renting in surrounding towns, we wound up buying our first house (where we remain 25 years later) in of all places -- my hometown. Once, we contemplated a job offer on the West Coast, but in the end stayed put. I guess despite the past, I found comfort in the familiar.
This walk down memory lane that Chapter 15 took me, including an eerily similar conversation with one of parents, about how ill-informed I was about past situations, was perfectly met in Chapter 16, with this remarkable understanding of the role of grace in our lives.
Roger B. Thomas writes, in an interior dialog of character Scott Kyle, the phrase - “All because of Grace?” In this moment he is struggling with the current circumstances of his life, and the Grace he is referring is his little daughter. As he starts to elaborate all the situations that he can trace back to Grace, I started to feel a ‘Wonderful Life’ moment happening. It was in reading this chapter, that I first realized the genius in the baby being named Grace (yes, it truly took me to nearly the end of the book to make that connection; I am not ashamed to admit it), and I recognized the ripple effect of one life on the lives it touches. More importantly, as I watched the dialog of this chapter unfold, the incredible role of the grace of God in our lives’ ripple became even more astounding.
Even in the most painful of memories from my early life, I can see how God’s grace was at work making me who I was today. Although my initial desire was to get as far away as possible from those childhood recollections, there was something that drew me back and called me to stay. Perhaps remembering how far God has brought me, that thorn that remains (2 Cor 12:7) that keeps me dependent on God, was at work in my subconscious when looking to plant roots. After all, "if it hadn't been for grace,” God only knows where I would have ended up.
To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:
- What criteria did you consider when discerning where to plant your roots? What role, if any, did your hometown play in your final decision?
- Grace is such a remarkable force in our lives; how do you see it at work in yours?
- How do you handle those feeling of being overwhelmed, which inevitably come, in parenthood?
Feel free to comment on your own thoughts from this week's reading, your impressions and reflections, and/or your answers to these questions.
Next week, we'll cover Chapters 17-18. For the complete reading schedule and information about our Book Club, visit the Accidental Marriage Book Club page.
Copyright 2014 Allison Gingras
About the Author
Allison Gingras created the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (OSV), including "The Gift of Invitation" and "Seeking Peace: A Spiritual Journey from Worry to Trust." Her ministry focuses on the grace of prayer, Scripture, and sacrament. Allison is the national WINE Steward for WINE: Women In the New Evangelization and hosts A Seeking Heart podcast.