We went to Maple Street bookstore tonight and their new motto is “Love Among the Ruins,” a fitting motto for anyone living in New Orleans at this time. It’s a little local bookstore, a booklovers paradise, exactly what you’d imagine if you thought of a dusty old bookshop from a mystery novel or a curiosity shop. Dirty, tattered, charming, and filled with books!
I just finished reading The Moviegoer by Walker Percy, who also wrote Love Among the Ruins. Apparently Mr. Percy was a devoted customer of Maple Street bookstore, and I heard a lot about him from Dr. Robert Coles, my writing professor at Harvard, a living legend, a soft-spoken brilliant man who worked on books with Walker Percy, Dr. Coles as writer, Mr. Percy as photographer. I loved The Moviegoer. It raised some wonderful and profound points, my favorite being that while the majority of Americans believe in God and a very small percentage are atheist or agnostic, there is no category for the seekers who are searching for the sacred, the great spirit known to many as God.
Coming from a huge tightknit Mormon family from Utah, I get asked often by nieces and nephews about my relationship with God, Jesus, church, etc. I never know what to say except “I believe in fairies.” But I’ve found my answer in The Moviegoer. I’m a seeker, on a (most likely) neverending search for God. Any faith I may have had hanging onto my soul in tiny tatters was torn away two years ago with the hurricane. I’m still shook up. I didn’t realize just how shook up until George asked me to fill the car up the other day in case of evacuation. My visceral reaction was nausea, shaking, tears. I weathered through, pushed it away, but I’m still stunned. The heartbreaking stories, this magical city that was holding on by a thread, it’s overwhelming.
And so I’ll continue to seek, to search for the sacred. Because I think how could there possibly be a God when there are hurricanes; but then I hold my babies, or see fireflies lighting up the woods around our Vineyard like starlight dancing in the trees, and I think, how could there not be?