Plan B was published in 2005, six years after Traveling Mercies. I love Anne Lamott, and I loved this book. I found Plan B at Chapters in Regina a few days ago, a $6.99 bargain. I think God wanted me to find it and read it.

At the writing of this book, Anne is fifty-ish, her son is in the throes of adolescence, and George W. Bush is on the throne. Scary, uncertain times. Scary uncertainties that I can relate to.

These are the things I underlined.

peace is joy at rest and joy is peace on its feet

“How do we help? How do we not lose our minds?” … “You take care of the suffering.”

on Rahab … Why did she hide them, since, by the calculus of the world, that act endangered her? She did it because she was desperate, and so she listened to her heart.

gifts of desperation

Bono, of U2, who is a Christian, says that his favorite song is “Amazing Grace” and his second favorite is “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” and most of the time, I have to let it go at that.

When God is going to do something wonderful, He or She always starts with a hardship; when God is going to do something amazing, He or She starts with an impossibility.

… with writing, you start where you are, and you usually do it poorly. You just do it – you do it afraid. And something happens.

… she had drowned in those uncried tears.

I know that with writing, you start where you are, and you flail around for a while, and if you keep doing it, every day you get closer to something good.

Holiness has most often been revealed to me in the exquisite pun of the first syllable, in holes – in not enough help, in brokenness, mess.

… what doesn’t help is the terrible feeling of isolation, the fear that everyone else is doing better than you.

And I planted bulbs, which is a form of prayer.

God doesn’t want or expect you to get it together before you come along, because you can’t get it together until you come along. You can spend half of your time alone, but you also have to be in service, in community, or you get a little funny.

On the day I die, I want to have had dessert.

She quoted the Reverend James Forbes as saying, “Nobody gets into heaven without a letter of reference from the poor.”

Finally, we stood outside an inner gate, showed our IDs to the guards, and got our hands stamped with fluorescent ink. “You don’t glow, you don’t go,” said one cheerful, pockmarked guard, which was the best spiritual advice I’d had in a long time.

A lot of stuff falls off – your vision, your youth, your memory – but better stuff is left behind.

… the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely.

Thank you, Anne Lamott. I needed that.