cover image Grace Period: My Ordination to the Ordinary

Grace Period: My Ordination to the Ordinary

Melinda Worth Popham. iUniverse, $29.95 (254p) ISBN 978-1-4917-7602-5

In this impeccably written memoir, Popham (Skywater) recounts a spiritual journey launched by the dissolution of her unhappy marriage and her teenage daughter’s descent into an intractable depression. Set in the late 1990s, the story moves from Los Angeles to Yale Divinity School and back again as the author allows herself a grace period in which to rebuild her sense of self, “after having my interior taken down to the bare studs by the events of the past five years.” She describes at a leisurely pace, with meticulous detail, what she learns from “mundane miracles and minor accidents, those spiritual fender benders that are collisions with grace itself.” The struggles of a turtle to get through a fence and cross the road serve as a metaphor for her own struggles to reach God. She is humble and honest about her shortcomings, as when she erupts with anger and foul language at unsuspecting passers-by when she and her dog get lost, and about achievements as well. When she concludes that her vocation is ordination to “my plain old ordinary sacred self,” she proves herself a highbrow, refined, spiritual sister to Anne Lamott. (BookLife)