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Seven Stories That Have Shaped My Life: #6 – the one about trust and vulnerability

  • August 30, 2015
  • By Happy

Confession #1: (I am slightly embarrassed to admit this but) I really love a good love story.

Observation of Fact #1: There are a lot of really awful Christian romance novels out there.  (And when I say really awful, I’m talking “how-did-this-ever-get-published” awful…)

Confession #2: As a result of Observation of Fact #1, when I find a Christian author I actually like, I become slightly obsessed and read/buy pretty much everything they’ve ever written.

Observation of Fact #2: There are at least three amazing Christian romance novelists writing great books right now.

Therefore: As a result of Observation of Fact #2, here are three unsolicited author recommendations:

Which brings us to the next book on my list of stories that have shaped my life:

#6: Torchlight, by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Torchlight is the second book in Bergren’s Full Circle series.  It’s actually not my favorite from the series (Pathways is my favorite) – but Torchlight comes in at a close second, and its lessons have had a tremendous impact on me over time.

Torchlight is the story of Julia Rierdon, who has inherited a large estate on the coast of Maine.  Determined to renovate the estate and turn it into an inn, Julia moves in and hires an independent contractor named Trevor Kenbridge to assist with the renovations.  Working together so closely, the two quickly become friends – but it’s clear from the beginning that Trevor wants more than friendship.  There’s just one problem – Julia’s already engaged.

One day, while working on the house, Trevor and Julia find a secret passageway.  Hidden in the passage are a number of old journals and accounts belonging to her great-great-grandparents, Shane and Anna Donovan, who had originally owned the estate.  Anna’s journals quickly capture Julia’s heart and imagination, as she reads them aloud in the evenings to Trevor and various houseguests over the following weeks.  The depth of Anna’s love for Shane causes Julia to begin to question her own engagement as well as her growing attraction to Trevor.

Brené Brown talks often about “the stories we tell ourselves“; by the end of the novel, Julia is forced to confront the fact that she has told herself all kinds of stories about Trevor (for example, that his love for travel and new experiences equate to an inability to commit) that are simply untrue.  Trevor, for his part, has to overcome the hurt he experiences and risk telling Julia the truth about how he feels, in spite of the possibility of rejection.  In the end, they both choose to tell the truth and to take the risks that come with vulnerability – and (it’s a love story, so of course we saw this coming) they end up happily ever after and a little wiser for the journey that led them there.

One of the things I have always found most compelling about this story, aside from the depth that Shane and Anna’s story adds to Trevor and Julia’s, is Trevor’s persistence in loving Julia despite her frequent attempts to push him away.  He sees straight through the stories she tells herself and persists in showing up and helping her to see herself – and him – more clearly.  (He kind of reminds me of Jesus.)

Each time I read it, Torchlight reminds me to ask myself: What are the stories I’m making up because I’m afraid?  What is it that I fear?  And how can I allow love, trust, and vulnerability to lead me into greater freedom?

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How would you answer those questions?
photo courtesy of / Timothy M. LeBlanc

By Happy, August 30, 2015
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Meet Happy

Thanks for visiting!

Simple Felicity is, at its heart, a blog based on the unshakeable belief that happiness really isn't all that complicated. Sometimes finding it can be - but happiness itself is pretty simple, and it's often found in the simplest of things: good food, good books, and good company. So those are the things I write about, along with a few other things that really matter to me, including faith and feminism.

A bit about me: My name is Happy. I have an amazing talent for misplacing my keys, a deep appreciation for whomever looked at the coffee bean and thought, "Hey, I wonder what would happen if I roasted this?", and road trips to Michigan are pretty much my favorite.

Contact me anytime at simplefelicity7 (at) gmail (dot) com! I'd love to hear from you.

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