a letter of thanks

photoDear Shauna,

I can breathe again. Reading your heartfelt, sacred and silly stories was like finding a friend when I’ve been lost in a crowd of strangers. I am enchanted by your writing. You are an artist with words. So real and honest and authentic and true. I have devoured your books these past few weeks like a hungry girl with a bag of her favorite potato chips. I just couldn’t get enough. How many times have I whispered, “You too? I thought it was only me.” You have a gift.

Your stories made me laugh, cry, and whisper a profound “Amen” and “Halleluiah” over and over and over again. If we lived in the same town, I would be tempted to stalk your local coffee shops in the slim chance that I could meet you in real life and beg you to be my friend. To teach me your craft and art of real living and real loving.

You’ve taught me to embrace the good, the holy, the hard and the sad. Together. Maybe that’s the best lesson I’ve learned by far. You’ve given me courage to share my stories, live a deep, rich, sacred life, and celebrate. Celebrate. Because yes, life can be bitter, but life is also sweet, and when you put the two together, you have something rich and smooth and deep. Something so delicious that you want to share it with a friend.

If you came to my house, I’d serve you fancy, dark chocolate and sweet, chilled tangerines and ask endless questions around the table about motherhood, ministry, reading, writing, and of course, cooking. I’d confess to you my weaknesses and fears about friendship and homemaking and hostessing and starting a cooking club. You’d listen and nod your head in understanding, I’m sure, but then I picture you taking my hand and gently saying, “You can do this. Not perfectly, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be done. Just be you and see what great things God can do when you let him.”

How do I say “thank you” in a million little ways?

I’ll simply start with, “Thank you.”

With a happy, hopeful heart,

Kara

{Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, and newly released Bread & Wine. She is my new favorite writer. Check out her personal blog at shaunaniequist.com.}

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