Bless the largeness inside me, no matter how I fear it.
Meet Ana, a young woman living in Galilee in the first century. She feels compelled to write down the lost stories of women, and begs her father for parchment and ink.
She writes the prayer above into an incantation bowl given to her by her aunt, the only educated woman she knows.
Sue Monk Kidd wrote one of my favourite books of all time, The secret life of bees. And now she’s written what may well become ‘the’ favourite book of all times, The book of longings, published this month.
Not only is Ana from The book of longings a bright, rebellious and brave young woman, she is also the wife of Jesus. Let me share with you the beginning …
I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus ben Joseph of Nazareth. I called him Beloved and he, laughing, called me Little Thunder. He said he heard rumblings inside me while I slept, a sound like thunder from far over the Nahal Zippori valley or even farther beyond the Jordan. I don’t doubt he heard something. All my life, longings lived inside me, rising up like nocturnes to wail and sing through the night. That my husband bent his heart to mine on our thin straw mat and listened was the kindness I most loved in him. What he heard was my life begging to be born.
I’ve listened to and read a few interviews with Sue Monk Kidd. It took her four and a half years to write this book – and a lot of audacity. Who would dare to write a novel about Jesus’s wife? She read a tonne of history books for research. She put a lot of herself into Ana – her longing to write, her anger at women’s treatment (historical and current).
I read this book in a day and a half – I couldn’t put it down. And contrary to my need to finish it, I didn’t want it to end.
Bless the largeness in Sue Monk Kidd.