Yesterday, Anne Jackson’s new book, Permission to Speak Freely arrived in the mail.
Last night, I read the entire book.
No, I don’t normally read an entire book in one evening. However, this book was different. Perhaps it was her raw honesty that kept me engaged. Maybe, I was captivated because I felt as if I was looking into the soul of many, many people who I have known through the years. It could be that I was seeing myself in places.
In May 2008, Anne asked this question on her blog, FlowerDust.net:
What is one thing you feel you can’t say in the church?
Hundreds of people responded. This book, in part, is a reflection on this experience.
The book opens with a wonderful, candid discussion of fear. I found this to section to be particularly helpful. Anne writes:
I realize Fear isn’t only affecting me, but humanity as well. As I look around today, I see him hooking into many people I encounter. Their hearts are fighting for their dreams, yet Fear claws away at their spirits, telling them their dreams are impossible.
These people want to have a family, go back to school, quit their jobs and move to Africa, ask that girl out, volunteer at a shelter, stand up for justice, pose a question, right a wrong, or say hi to their neighbor, but Fear soaks into their bloodstream like a paralyzing virus and prevents them from taking a step in the beautiful, wonderful, difficult life in front of them.
Fear wants to stop our stories.