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Book Review: Embracing the Gray by Mark Hollingsworth

In Africa, books, Christianity, church, entertaining angels, experience, faith, least of these on February 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Book Review:

Embracing the Gray: A Wing, A Prayer and a Doubter’s Resolve by Mark Hollingsworth

I’ve been trying to write a memoir for a while now.  While I love working on it, it’s hard to find the time—-and often I sit back and wonder just who, and why, someone would want to read it. I question if the writing will ever be more than simply self-therapy.

When my friend Mark said he had finished his memoir, I was equally curious to see into his life, as I was to see how he was able to actually condense a life well lived into a couple hundred pages.

You may not recognize the name Mark Hollingsworth, but you’ve probably heard him on the radio, read an article he’s written, been a fan of a band he managed or at least heard of his employer, Compassion International.

Embracing the Gray is a beautiful journey of doubt, music, reality, mission and faith…or a lack thereof.  Through short stories from his work, confessing his renouncement of Christianity in college, destruction and restoration in his family, returning to faith, occasional looks at the every day … they are journeys and questions that I think we all need to consider if we really want to make our beliefs our own.

Walking through the gentle death of his father truly moved my spirit. I’m realizing that I’m not good at aging, and as I see my parents getting older I am forced to recognize how our relationship is starting to change. For Mark, the true realization his father was slipping was by beating him in checkers. For me, it involves deciphering recipes in the kitchen. It was comforting to look into not only what might be ahead, but to know that I won’t be navigating that road alone.

Out of the collection, the stories that truly touched me were his interactions with some of the least of these: a Kenyan girl named Mercy, a woman who broke rocks into gravel in India, children in Haiti who aren’t expected to survive so they have no names, the angel that showed up on Mark’s doorstep…all unexpected faces where grace is found.  Mark’s narrative is descriptive, yet open so I can remember the people I’ve encountered over my own journey.

The beauty of a well-written memoir is realizing all of our journeys interact.  And by looking at the lives of others, we learn more about our own.

Embracing The Gray is just such a book.

By @lorilenz

You can buy Embracing the Gray through Amazon here: http://tinyurl.com/marksbookembracingthegray

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