When my oldest was 5 and my middle child was about 18 months, I found, for the first time in at least 5 years, I had time to sit down an enjoy a grown-up book. The 5 year old could occupy himself safely and the 18 month old was a late walker, so I set them up with toys nearby and pulled out a book of short stories from my “to read” stack.
It was “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Conner. I wanted the kids to benefit from a good story, so I read the title selection aloud to them.
This was a huge mistake and of course I had to cut the read-aloud short.
Next, I dove into The River. Then the next story. Then the next story. I didn’t quite understand what O’Connor was doing, but I did love the characters and writing.
I did not pick up more O’Connor until a book club podcast I follow read her collection “Everything that Rises Must Converge.” Reading along with that book club absolutely changed my life. I could see a little better, though I’m still learning, how she used dark grace to explain the mystery of salvation. I ended up reading every short story she ever wrote (twice), plus some essays, plus some letters, plus a biography.
In honor of O’Connor and the way she made me contemplate how grace actually works, I created pendants based on a few of my favorite short stories.
We have: the Misfit’s hat from A Good Man is Hard to Find, the purse from Everything that Rises Must Converge, the bull’s eye from Greenleaf, and the car from The Life You Save May Be Your Own.
Which Flannery story is your favorite? And why?