Both Marys are avid readers, and today this Mary (Mary K) would like to share a recent read with the Mary & Me audience. Have you ever read a book that stays with you for days? This was one of those books for me. John Schlimm is an artist as well as an author, and I believe this book is one of his greatest masterpieces.
Five Years in Heaven is an inspirational memoir about a young man at a crossroads in his life who returns to his small hometown and forms an unlikely and mutually enriching friendship with an 87-year-old nun and artist who illuminates a divinely inspired blueprint for finding one’s purpose and answering the ultimate question “How do I get to Heaven?”
“God never gives us more than we can handle. When we see each joy and, yes, sorrow that comes to us as a gift, and we greet both with gratitude, that’s what makes us stronger people. That gratitude is what helps us build our faith and gives us purpose while we’re here. Otherwise, so much would be unbearable.” (page 31)
That is just one of the nuggets of wisdom I jotted down as I read this beautiful book. “I want one,” I thought as I read the author’s story. “I want an old nun friend who can teach me with her wise words and gentle tone.” And then I realized I’d had that in my mother, if only I’d taken more time to really listen to her, and hadn’t been so busy chasing babies around whenever I’d visited. Like Sister Augustine, my mother was an artist and devout in her faith. Sister Augustine was a rare old soul, open and loving. To think that a young man such as Schlimm could connect and learn from her says something about his soul as well. This was more than a friendship~ it was about two quiet souls connecting in a world that sometimes seems to have gone mad. This will be a story that stays with me for a long time. I purchased a copy for my library, and will be encouraging my patrons to read it. I expect to make it one of our Book Club selections, as well.
“These days, people are so caught up in a world that’s competitive and full of temptations. Everyone wants something bigger or more than their neighbor has. A bigger house, a bigger job, more money, more clothes, more gadgets, more popularity, more things. Everyone tries to outdo one another. It’s rare to hear of someone who wants a bigger heart, a bigger faith, or a bigger sense of gratitude for what they already have.” (page 77)
This book will make you want that bigger heart, bigger faith, bigger sense of gratitude.
Check out John’s website at http://johnschlimm.com/