I’m so excited today to introduce you to my very good friend, Shauna Niequist, and her new book, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way.
Shauna is the author of the previous book, Cold Tangerines, which you should buy immediately. While I loved Cold Tangerines immensely, there is something more rich and deep about Bittersweet, which makes me that much more excited to introduce you to her and her work.
M grew up with Shauna, and over the last couple of years, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know her quite well. Every time M and I sit in the Niequist’s living room we get a peek inside Shauna’s heart - it is messy, awkward, hopeful, honest. For me, the joy of reading Bittersweet, from drafts to the final manuscript, was knowing that every reader will now have the same experience I have sitting in her living room. For an author, this is no small feat. She brings you into her deepest places of hurt and vulnerability, in the hopes that you might muster up the courage to do the same.
Here are a few excerpts:
In the introduction, she writes about when a friend explained to her that the central image of the Christian faith was death and rebirth. She continues by saying:
What I didn’t understand until recently is that (my friend) wasn’t speaking to me as a theologian or a pastor or an expert, but rather as a person whose heart had been broken and who had been brought back to life by the story God tells in all our lives. When you haven’t had your heart really broken, the gospel isn’t about death and rebirth. It’s about life and more life. It’s about hope and possibility and a brighter future. And it is, certainly, about those things. But when you’ve faced some kind of death - the loss of someone you love dearly, the failure of a dream, the fracture of a relationship - that’s when you start understanding that central metaphor.
The idea of bittersweet is changing the way I live, unraveling and re-weaving the way I understand life. Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a sliver of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich when it contains a splinter of sadness.
This collection is an ode to all things bittersweet, to life at the edges, a love letter to what change can do in us.
As a special gift to my readers, Shauna is giving away one, signed copy to a randomly selected commenter! Here’s how to win: In the comments section of this post, tell us about bittersweet moment in your life in 100 words or less. If you Tweet or Facebook about this giveaway, @reply me (@blainehogan) and I’ll enter your name into the drawing a second time. The last comment will be accepted at 9pm PST on Friday, October 15th. I’ll announce the winner the next day and mail ‘Bittersweet’ to the winner!”