Author Callie J. Smith discusses her new novel Kat’s Dreams and its setting during the season of Lent.
“Inviting our Demons in for Tea”
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?