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Fictional Pastor's Wife Finding Her Purpose in Life February 18, 2013
“’That’s what drives a guy like Rick into the shed and cuts him off from his wife and his kids. Thinking he’ll find God if he can just shut the world out. But what if God’s waiting … not in here” – tapping my chest – ‘but out there?’” Beth ponders in Lisa Samson’s novel, "The Sky Beneath My Feet.
At three hundred and ten pages, this paperback book has an old VW bus with an ichthys on the bumper as it is parked at the beach, although in the story the vehicle is never there. With no profanity or overtly sexual scenes, the book discusses topics such as premarital pregnancy, marijuana, drug abuse and marital struggles so may be targeted toward mature Christian women. This reader wishes all pronouns in regard to God would be capitalized out of reverence.
In this fifth novel of Samson, Beth writes in first person and has a plateful of problems in her life. Not only is her husband, men’s pastor at their large community church, searching for a closer relationship to God, but her younger sixteen year old son is dabbling in drugs, her older son is falling in love for the first time with a free-spirited college age woman and she is going through her own self-absorbed mid-life crisis.
It’s not that Rick, her spontaneous, handsome husband, has moved into the backyard shed to shut out the world so he can get God’s answer about accepting a pastoral job in another state, nor is it Beth’s sarcastic, sometimes judgmental and humorous viewpoint of her family, friends and neighbors as she looks for some sort of sanity and self-purpose to her crazy life. But as a pastor’s wife, having a pastor husband and supposedly perfect family, she is not put on a pedestal like so many presume – in this tome, she is thinks and acts like each of us most likely do.
Without mentioning studying her Bible for answers, never praying with her husband for mutual guidance or even listening during a church sermon on marriage that she attends, Beth is on her own quest to find her purpose in life. Through attending a peace rally, helping a young drug addict on the wrong side of the tracks or remunerating about her husband and sons’ faults, she seems to blame others, only to escape to Florida with a girlfriend, resulting in an epiphany.
It is not until her husband is uprooted from realizing it is not all about him as he is forced to help others that the real puzzle of Beth’s life aligns perfectly with her and those around her. Without condemnation, a reader may find more solace and understanding of her husband’s albeit strange soul searching than Beth’s easy-breezy thinking, avoidance to confront her family, fear of being accepted or rarely acknowledging God attitude.
Review by Connywithay
Being married to a saint isn't what it's cracked up to be.
Beth's husband won't be joining the family on vacation at the beach this year. He's not even joining them in the house. Instead, Rick has holed up alone in the backyard shed. Nobody knows exactly what he's up to. Maybe he's immersing himself in prayer. Maybe he's lost his mind. Maybe he's even the modern-day prophet or the saint the neighborhood artist imagines him to be. But while "St. Rick" waits for an epiphany, Beth will have to figure out what to do with herself and their teenage sons, possibly for the rest of her life.
What happens next is both uproarious and bittersweet: a peace march turns violent, her son is caught with drugs, and she embarks on an ambitious road trip that turns into something nearly surreal. Will Beth rediscover the idealistic woman she used to be, once upon a time? Can her marriage survive Rick's backyard vigil? Will anything ever be the same? And should it be?
Truthful, comic, heartbreaking, and magical in the very best sense of the word, The Sky Beneath My Feet gently tears the veil off our egos and expectations to reveal the throbbing, redemptive, and achingly beautiful life beyond and within us."The Sky Beneath My Feet is bright but unassuming. The protagonist totally enchants both one's spirit and one's mind with her shrewd insights and gentle humility. This is Samson at her best!" —Phyllis Tickle, author of Emergence Christianity
|Publication Date||March 5, 2013|