As I slow down, finally, I’m starting to find my own thoughts again. It seems I’ve been pushing so hard for so long, trying to work out so many things in my head, that I have lost track of what I actually think or feel or enjoy. Can anyone relate to that?

But this week, I have tried to pull back from people, even dear friends, so that I can get a little focus. I’ve spent a lot of time alone, which at first always makes me very sad, but then always leads to perspective, insight, and a geniune self-like (that may sound proud, but the truth is I kind of like who God has made me to be – I hope you like yourselves as well). So I come to this Friday, content. It’s nice.

As I’ve moved through this week, I’ve read a lot, as I’m sure you’ve noted from the number of book reviews I’ve posted. I’ve really liked everything I’ve been reading, but for the past few months, one book has been a touchstone for me, The Sun Magazine‘s publication The Mysterious Life of the Heart: Writing from The Sun about Passion, Longing, and Love. This anthology features some of the absolute best writing some one of the absolute best magazines around; each piece is gorgeous and wrenching in the way all powerful things are.

The collection takes shape as a relationship would beginning with dating, moving into marriage/partnership, exploring those relationships, looking at the way marriages/partnerships dissolve, and then moving back into how these relationships heal, shatter, and endure. Honestly, this is the best anthology I’ve ever read. There’s a consistency in the quality and tenor of the pieces and a beauty to it’s construction. I’ve been reading this book for months, not because it’s hard to read but because I really want to savor each piece, suck it into myself, let it become part of my circulatory system, live with these words, because these words are helping me find my way back to myself. Each time I read a piece, I think, “Wow, that must have been hard. I can’t even imagine.” Then, I think, “I know just what she means.” Or “That’s what I felt like when . . . ” I learn about others’ experiences while understanding my own. This book speaks of what words are supposed to do.

Yesterday, I read Michelle Cacho-Negrete’s essay “And Passion Most of All” about her visit to a friend who was dying of cancer. The piece speaks of all the complexities involved in friendship, in grief, in dying, in loving, in dating, in marriage – yet the story is so simple – it’s one woman trying to be the best friend she can be while she is also losing the best friend she has. The writing is gorgeous, and I’ve been thinking about it for hours. Powerful stuff, here.

So please order it from The Sun – support the magazine but more importantly, support yourself. Give yourself this gift. You deserve it, you know you do.

Cover of The Mysterioius Life of the HeartThe Mysterious Life of the Heart Edited by Sy Safransky with Tim McKee and Andrew Snee.