A Gushing Book Review: Laurus by Eugene Vodolazkin

I am in the midst of reading a book that I recommend.  Goodness, it is odd, charming, intriguing, compelling, and I get lost in it.  It is NOT an Orthodox book, but in many ways it says so much about the orthodox life, the thoughts, the Holy Fools, the dealings with things we don’t understand, things that are mysteries, and simple lives.  I should probably say they are not simple in that the lives are easy, but that they are often defined by doing the thing that is in front of us, it is in making a choice that leads to another choice and another, but not in a grandiose way.  Oh, I’m so not describing this book well.  Only know that this will challenge you while it charms you and breaks your heart.  The publisher says it is the tale of a 15th century Russian monk, but it is so much more.  This person changes names and directions in ways that are mysterious and yet ring so true. Don’t read this if you don’t want to be moved and challenged.

Full disclosure:  if you purchase through this link, I get paid.  That’s not the reason for me writing about it, the reason I’m promoting the book is because I fell in love with it.


Chasing the Sun

Paint the world
Calm the heart, the mind and spirit with a fall drive.

Chasing the sun along fields and forests, the round bales of hay dotting fields against the fiery leafed edges in shades of crimson, gold, mustard, orange, oxblood, chestnut, shades of red and orange of every description, against skies of gray clouds slowly shifting to skies of clear blue. Shafts of sunlight lit the occasional tree with heavenly light, like Moses’ burning bush. The gentle cacophony of bird song carried through the open skylight. Wonder and awe lifted my sorrow. Wrapped in glory, my eyes were lifted from earth to heaven.

This glory, this peaceful glory wrapped around my heart and lifted me in my grief, and hinted, no, insisted that there is more than this.  There is more than this earthly glory and it was almost visible for a time. The veil that separates us from the eternal other was thin. In those moments, grief, so real, so profound, was nonetheless overwhelmed by glory. Comfort in the bliss of colors that came from the hand of God himself, lit by heavenly glow, colors too vibrant, too many to grasp in my finite mind.

Today I am comforted in the fading glow, the residual memories of that glory.  I know that is there, and I long for it again. That thing which seems to be the perfect fall day, but is achingly more than that… I am unable to explain why this is such a comfort, but having tasted this comfort which is also discomforting, this glory which aches for more glory, I must hunt for more.  I must seek more solitary wow.  I must seek more of those glimpses that cause me to cry out, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”  and “Glory to Thee, O God. Glory to Thee!”

Ah, help me in my grief, O my Savior!