I received Everlasting is the Past in my Rabbit Room Christmas box back in December, and I’ve finally made my way around to reading it. This book is a memoir written by Walter Wangerin, Jr., who is a very successful writer. The book doesn’t really discuss his writing, life; it focuses on his journey of faith from a doubting seminary student to a pastor at an inner-city church.
I really enjoyed the book, and I especially enjoyed Wangerin’s writing style. This book is more poetic than many memoirs, and Wangerin puts himself in the background, which is unusual for any memoir or autobiography. He is the narrator, and he is the main participant, but somehow you get the sense while reading that none of the sentences or paragraphs are actually about him. Each chapter points to some greater truth. Here’s a quote I particularly liked:
For this is the power of a wise love wisely given: to transfigure a heart, suddenly and forever.
And, a few pages later:
For this is the cruelty of the love once wisely given. It will transfigure the heart a second time, when love is torn asunder.
I think these quotes sum up what I liked about this memoir. It tells a collection of stories from Wangerin’s life, but interspersed are great moments of wisdom and deep thought. I’ll leave you with this passage from the concluding chapter.
These are real. My past is real.
It is in music and choirs and carols, and I stand wide-eyed, altogether entranced with the dark mystery of the God who is not gone at all, but is here and in my heart.