Waiting…waiting on family. Waiting on God. Waiting on a decision. We all have times when we must wait. Eileen Button has spent a lot of time waiting and she writes about it in her memoir, The Waiting Place. This is a collection of her own experiences told in a way that the reader enters the story and experiences it with the author.
By all of my normal standards, I wouldn’t like this book much. Button is irreverent and bold. She talks about things most pastor’s wives wouldn’t. She uses words like “dang” without shame, and she’s just plain edgy. Like I said, by my normal standards, I wouldn’t be impressed. But that’s exactly what I like about this book. The author is real and raw. She isn’t pretentious or acting like she has it all together. She just puts it all out there and lets the reader like her, or not.
Unlike my experience with Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz where the entire memoir depicted Miller’s big ego (in case it isn’t clear from that, I didn’t like it), Eileen Button’s The Waiting Place is a gentler memoir, drawn from a place of humility. And it’s artfully told. The first person present tense draws the read into the moment. And I love the poetic way that Button describes things. She has a way with words that few have. For example, she talks of her mother styling her hair and says the ringlets “hang like Hostess Ho Hos along the sides of our heads.” She weaves humor and sadness together and grips the heart of the reader.
I had to laugh when she told the story of her weddings dress. Like the author, I bought my dress off the rack to save money and chose to wear 3 inch heals so I wouldn’t have to pay for alterations. And like hers, mine was “pretty in an eighties kinda way.” Like the author, I had to stand in line to pay for my children’s food with WIC checks, despite having a college degree, because I was committed to staying home with them. And I experienced the exact same shame she did from the treatment of cashiers and judging stares of other customers.
Is it deeply spiritual? No. But it is deeply moving and faith is woven throughout the book. I grew up in a very different environment from the author..much more sheltered. And yet, there were so many times in the book when I thought, she’s telling my story. That’s because Button touches on emotions and feelings and not just on the what—what happened. It’s about how it changed her and made her depend more on God.
I enjoyed this refreshingly honest book and I highly recommend it to anyone who has ever longed to find God in the middle of life’s painful circumstances. The author proves it can be done.
I received this Kindle version of the book for review purposes from Book Sneeze and Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Are you in a waiting place? How have you seen God at work while you are waiting? Or how have you grieved because you can’t see him at work yet? Share your comments below.