A Book You Might Not Have Expected
As Andrew revealed, the opening scene is set in my house, but if anything Rachel underplays the stress of that day. I was in the south of France with my family that week, and knew nothing of knife wielding and fish tank bobbing. However I did receive a text message from my father saying, “We have your dog as he has been taking large chunks out of the Wilson family. Hope you are having a really good holiday.” Needless to say, receiving such a message did nothing to improve my holiday! An exchange of messages with Andrew reassured me that my dad had been somewhat hyperbolic but – yes – my normally placid dog did nip one of the children. Knives, fish tanks, freaked out dogs… a day of deep breaths indeed. Even more amazing than the fact we are still friends is that the Wilson’s have asked if they can use our house again sometime!
Even without that personal connection, I would be recommending ‘The Life’. It really is an extraordinary achievement: honest, winsome, painful, hope-filled, funny; this is a book for anyone who wants to live faithfully through life’s joys and trials, whether or not you are a parent of children with special needs.
The writing style, and some of the themes, will be familiar to those who read this blog. In a punchy and engaging manner Andrew and Rachel explore big topics of suffering, sanctification and eternity, all rooted in their experience of caring for two severely autistic children. For parents in similar situations this book is a must-read: having gone through the experience of a daughter succumbing to anorexia there were many pages of ‘The Life’ that resonated closely with emotions I have had to process. But this is a book that is for a wider audience than parents of challenging children. If you have ever faced suffering, or wondered about unanswered prayer, or are prone to a sense of entitlement, this is a book for you.
‘The Life’ is an antidote to sentimental religiosity, to whacky super-spirituality, and to cold-hearted spiritual conservatism. The nature of a blog like Think can at times make theology feel like something that is primarily a matter of position staking, or argument and battle. ‘The Life’ reveals the practical outworking of theology – something that is lived, and breathed, and bears fruit. This theology is not abstract or esoteric, but a foundation for lives that are battered, yet stand firm.
Thank you Andrew and Rachel, for this book, and for how you are living. Well done Wilsons!