There’s this story of an ancient monk who hears knocking on the door, and the monk opens the door and finds demons out there. I love the way the monk responds. The monk invites the demons inside for a cup of tea.
I tend to think of demons as those parts of life that I wish didn’t exist, as those things that prevent the world from being what God surely made it to be. And to imagine inviting those things inside for a cup of tea is a bit of a stretch. It’s a stretch, and I think that’s probably the point.
When I wrote the novel Kat’s Dreams, I wanted to tell the story of a woman who’s trying to put some of her own demons behind her. She’s recovering from something that all too many of us can resonate with. She’s been broadsided by a #MeToo experience, and she doesn’t know what to do with it, but she’s realizing that she can’t just push it away and ignore it.
I set her story during the season of Lent because Lent is another way that Christian tradition has imagined people spending time with difficult things in light of redemption. Kat is letting her friends (and even a potential love interest) help her deal with memories that still have something to say to her. She’s letting God connect her with the people, and support, and love she needs in order to listen.
Maybe that’s something that a lot of us would like to let God do in our lives. Kat’s story is one of those stories that helps me picture what hope can look like. Sometimes, stories can help us look at life with a little more imagination about what God actually might be redeeming.
So, that’s why I sometimes do ask myself: what is that demon, what is that thing, I’m needing to invite inside for a cup of tea and spend some time with right now? What about you? What thing could you imagine inviting to sit down for a cup of tea?
Pleased to share this final in a 3-part video series discussing my new book, Kat’s Dreams. Thanks, again, to RM Media for these video opportunities!
Smith: The fiction series I’m working on is called Sacred Grounds. The Sacred Grounds Novels follow Kat, who’s a woman I think of as both a faithful and a feisty heroine. In the first novel, Kat’s Dreams, she’s facing some very difficult things, which makes for a good story and also gives us a chance to see who she is. One of the things I’ve enjoyed about writing Kat’s story is how it’s given me a chance to reflect on what faith means in some of the more painful moments of life.
Not that this is a painful book. Not at all! It does tackle some difficult things. Kat is, after all, on a #MeToo kind of journey. Yet, she has this very stubborn sort of gladness inside her. She insists on enjoying the world and the people around her, and she’s determined to find a good way forward. That’s one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed getting to work with her as a character.
Reading: I’d noticed how much could happen inside of a person before she had any words at all to capture it. In fact, now I had fewer things to say, in general, and I even had fewer words for prayer. At first, that bothered me, but then I started wondering how many words a time truly needed in order to earn the name of ‘prayer.’
Smith: I hope you’ll subscribe to the blog on my website at calliejsmith.net and please do go to the “books” page of my website to get yourself a copy of Kat’s Dreams.
Smith: As a clergy person, I’ve gotten into the habit of paying attention to the spiritual aspects of how we live and breathe and move through this world. I’m also a mountain biker, and that hobby gets me outside and away from my computer. It’s one way I practice really being present to the world around me and the path unfolding before me. I definitely gave that appreciation of bike time to the main character in the series of novels that I’ve been working on.
Reading from Kat’s Dreams: And that had been that. But now? I felt very different. I felt less outgoing and trusting, less ready to dare and try new things. I stayed more to myself, felt more hesitant to dream, and needed more time to process what was happening inside of me. Getting outside and riding my bike came to feel like my lifeline to the world, the one place where I could let myself get excited, go fast, and dare new things regardless of whether or not I fell. There, I could always get up and go on. In the rest of my life, I wasn’t getting up and going on so quickly.
Smith: Please subscribe to my blog at www.calliejsmith.net and go to the “Books” page for a link to purchase Kat’s Dreams on Amazon.