I am apparently a slow learner. I took Kate Braestrup's Here if You Need Me with me to Starbucks. Now there was thought behind this as my choice from the TBR pile. I knew it was going to be a slowish day at work Friday and I wanted to to pick something that would not make me nuts not being able to read it. This is not to say I expected it to be boring or bad, it is to say I have better self control when it comes to putting non-fiction down.
Here if You Need Me is the story of Braestrup's journey to and of becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister, something her husband had planned to do before his death. I'm not sure why it didn't occur to me to stash a second book in my bag in case it got to be a bit much to read in public. It didn't. So, as I nibbled away on some food in Starbucks I hit the chapter where they prepare her deceased husband's body. And there I was in Starbucks, holding back tears again.
Well, other than that, I did well. I read the book over the weekend, in spots. I made other people listen to parts (not too often, I showed some restraint). Remember how I said non-fiction tends to go slowly for me? Finished it Saturday night.
It's a great story about this woman who is a UU minister who works as a chaplain for the Maine State Game Warden Service. It's sad, as I mentioned, in parts. It's lovely in parts. Braestrup talks about being raised in a fairly agnostic family, and the reactions to her choice to become a minister, a little about being in seminary as a UU, but mostly about being a chaplain. What that means for families who have need of the Game Wardens, for the wardens themselves and for her.
One of my favorite parts is her recounting of a discussion she had with a warden after they recovered a fisherman who's sled had fallen through the ice. Their discussion was fairly non-descript, but later one of the other wardens passed on that that discussion really helped him. As people who work or have worked in any helping profession (paid or unpaid) know, sometimes it is the simplest moments, where you just listen or just talk that have such meaning for the other person.