Denise Roy is a psychotherapist, a spiritual director, and the founder of Family Spirit, an organization that nurtures spirituality in families. She received a Master of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley. In this appealing paperback, she gives us "35 stories from a real life." With a relaxed and appealing writing style, she discusses the many times when she has noticed the divine presence operating within the very ordinary and very daily experiences of a middle-aged woman with four kids, a mortgage, and ten extra pounds, as she describes herself.
Roy envisions her sturdy minivan as a monastery where she prays and meditates and transports angels from one location to another. "If we pay attention, any moment or any place or any person might be a bearer of wisdom," she observes and then tells a story of a day when she was feeling late, harassed, and angry in her vehicle. Stopping for a red light in front of a bakery, she sees a sign in the window: "Relax . . . you have plenty of time." A grace note reminding her to chill out just when she needed it.
Roy is constantly learning not to miss out on a blessing because it isn't packaged in the way she expects. Readers, especially those with children, will recognize many familiar scenes. Check out her spiritually literate takes on her chair called Happy; her frustrating attempts to practice Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh's telephone meditation; her realization of the wisdom to be learned from her kitchen floor, shelf, and sink; her bonding with her daughter during a store rush for Teenie Beanie Babies; and the lessons learned from dead ants in her bedroom.
Roy, who at one time wanted to be a contemplative nun, has found her vocation as a parent to be deeply spiritual. "For two decades, I have broken bread, poured grape juice, preached, prayed, told stories, bestowed blessings, taken care of the sick, heard confessions. I have been a parent. These have been the sacraments of my daily life and, I suspect, of yours. These are simple, sacred acts. These are how we mediate love, as we minister to our own little congregations-children, spouse, family, and friends."
Roy does a splendid job conveying the riches of everyday spirituality in a family context. "Nothing is off-limits as a potential source of wisdom, as the dwelling place for divinity," she concludes. We all need more tutors in thisthis sacramental understanding of God's presence in our daily activities. Roy proves to be a very good one. And after reading this devotionally rich book, you'll never see a minivan in quite the same way!