PSA: if you’re missing me in your inbox or in your life, my work has been all-consuming, but I am dabbling in a few projects that have me curating content and doing fun quips/overviews. If you’re interested, try out the Triple Take newsletter from Our Sunday Visitor and let me know what you think…
By Greg Willits (Our Sunday Visitor, 2017)
I had the blessing to read this book early, and yes, you’ll find my name in the endorsements of it.
But I tell you, with nothing short of take-away-my-coffee-if-I’m-lying honesty, that this book is amazing. Great. And very needed.
Peace is something we seek, whether we know it or not. Years ago, I picked “peace” as my word of the year. (I’ve never been able to pick another one. I’ve been stuck on that one word for almost a decade…)
And just the other day, in my bathroom ramblings through The Way by St. Josemaria Escriva, I found this gem:
Get rid of those scruples that deprive you of peace. What robs you of your peace of soul cannot come from God.
When God comes to you, you will realize the truth of these greetings: My peace I give to you… My peace I leave with you… My peace be with you… And this peace you will feel even in the midst of tribulation. (#258)
Peace is something I am always seeking. Every.single.day. And…I don’t think I’m alone in that.
I’ve been reading a lot of the news lately, curating content for work I do. It’s been years since I paid close attention to the news headlines (and wow, the peace that inserted in my life was HUGE!), and I’ve found myself praying a lot more, for a lot more things.
My appreciation, therefore, for Tied in Knots and the very practical, honest, and heartfelt way Willits approached it is huge. This is a book I needed to read.
In fact, it’s a book that you could say changed my life in a way. At the very least, it has had a big impact.
I’ve had a very special, very dear, very felt-like-urgent-and-God’s-moving-slooooowllllly intention for at least five years. I’ve offered countless novenas, daily prayers, and Masses. I’ve asked others to pray for it, I’ve prayed with others about it, and I’ve done my best to let go and leave it with God.
Willits writes, as part of the one-page introduction to the book, “The knot that has you all tied up may just turn out to be one of the greatest blessings in your life, and you can experience peace in your life once more, even in the midst of dealing with whatever has you tied in knots.”
It’s hard to hear that, when a knot is usually unwelcome. You don’t want it. And while you may not know it’s there, once you realize it is, you want to unknot it. Right?
As often happens when a difficulty begins to consume life, it truly consumes. Like an oil spill, it seeps into relationships and turns normal conversations into cross-examinations, which causes withdrawal and loneliness. It turns restful nights into battles with darkness and unease, slapping at sheets and turning aimlessly until morning slams on the door and demands your attention through an insomnia-induced haze. Days become marathons of stumbling through the hours until it’s time to crash back into bed and stare at the ceiling once again.
Now, maybe you haven’t had that exact level of experience (or maybe it has been much worse), but I was nodding. In fact, that would be how I read this book: nodding. And thanking God for the gift Greg Willits is to the topic of peace.
There’s a point in the book, near the end, when Willits is explaining the novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots, when he writes, “Don’t hesitate, don’t stop, don’t say I’m going to start it on Monday; start it today. Nine days from now you will be finished.”
I read that as a challenge. In fact, from years of listening to Greg speak and podcast, as well as becoming friends with him and his wife Jennifer, it was like actually hearing him tell me that.
“GO AND PRAY THIS NOVENA,” the Greg-in-my-head said, rather loudly. (He is a booming-voice kind of guy.)
So…why not, I thought. What do I have to lose?
It was the ninth day of the novena when my phone rang. And my life changed in a pretty major way. Years of prayers were answered in a fell swoop.
And, to be honest, that never happens to me. I’ve prayed lots of novenas. In fact, I’ve rather given up on the expectation of fireworks from God. My answers are usually still and small, just like the voice of God. They come to me through other people, and the changes are not sweeping, but gradual and insistent.
I’ve prayed this particular novena before (more than once, as a matter of fact). And, looking back, there have been big changes in my life.
They just don’t usually happen with a dramatic phone call.
They just don’t usually happen all at once.
They just don’t usually happen in a way that’s newsworthy, write-worthy, or even noticeable at the time.
That God guy, I tell ya. Always changing things up for me. Always delighting me and frustrating me and keeping me on my toes.
Sometimes, you pull the thread of the knot in your life and you find out it’s something that requires scissors. Other times, you look at the knot and just sob. It’s too big, too complicated, too overwhelming.
Tied in Knots can be a quick read. You can whip through this book, put it down, and remain unchanged.
But I challenge you not to. I challenge you to pick it up and let Willits’s words impact you. Let the message he shares and the way he points you to Mary as Undoer of Knots be a beacon of hope.
You deserve it. And so does your life.