July 31st, 2014
03:56 PM ET
By Dorrine Mendoza, CNN
(CNN) - Author Anne Lamott says she begins her day by checking the news as soon as she wakes up.
“If the world is coming to an end that day I am going to eat the frosting off an entire carrot cake: just for a start," she wrote in a recent essay on her Facebook page.
Lamott, the best-selling author of several books about spirituality, describes her specialty as topics that "begin with capital letters: Alcoholism, Motherhood, Jesus.” But in recent days, global events have been foremost on her mind.
“The last two weeks have been about as grim and hopeless as any of us can remember,” she wrote, listing events like the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster in Ukraine, Palestinian children killed by rocket fire while playing football on the beach and protests against young refugees showing up at the U.S. border.
Lamott posted her response to those events on her Facebook page on Sunday; the essay quickly received more than 18,000 shares and thousands of comments.
“I used to think that if the world — or I — were coming to an end, I’d start smoking again,” she wrote. But that's going too far, Lamott said, settling for the simpler pleasure of sweet pastries.
Despite tragedies both deeply personal and worldly, Lamott said she turns to a hard-won, if somewhat restless faith.
“There is no one left in my circle who would dare say, brightly, ‘Let go and let God,’ because they know I would come after them with a fork,” she wrote.
Lamott said this isn’t because she doesn’t trust God, “or grace or good orderly direction.” She assures us, she does. It’s platitudes she finds unhelpful. Instead, her priorities are prayer, meditation and taking loving actions.
“It begins by putting your own oxygen mask on first: I try to keep the patient comfortable,” she wrote.
Once the flow of oxygen has steadied she turns her thoughts to the poor, the hungry and returning phone calls.
Readers and Lamott fans responded in kind.
“I wish we could all get together for coffee/water/whatever and just be,” wrote Diana Hartje in the comments. “I don’t feel quite so alone with all this going on around us.”
Charon Mangino posted a photo of flowers from her garden, writing, “I go into my garden … I weed, and with each weed I pray and release my own negative thoughts, beliefs and demons. Then I plant new seeds of love. May they flower into something beautiful to help heal this world of pain.”
Jodi Gabert revealed her own anger not just with the world, but also at the loss of a dear friend to cancer. Although Lamott did not personally comment, more than 20 others did, offering their support and own stories of recovery after loss.
Lamott concluded her essay, “You are my own, and I am yours–I think this is what God is saying, or trying to, over the din."
Read the whole essay here.
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.