Book review: Souls in Full Sail

by Rich Heffern

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By Emilie Griffin
Published by InterVarsity Press, $15

In this beautifully written book, Emilie Griffin, to paraphrase one of her favorite and most frequently-cited authors, C. S. Lewis, looks “along” rather than “at” what it means to grow old as a Christian.

Self-help books about aging generally discuss coping with it or doing all one can to slow it down, but Griffin sees this period in her life as one in which she can enjoy looking back at her life while at the same time living and growing in the present .

Griffin is a wonderful storyteller, and she illustrates all her points with good tales. Each chapter ends with practical suggestions for applying what she has talked about in that chapter as well as a few questions for reflection.

In the later years, she writes, we are reaching to complete our lives, to be what God destined us to be. We ask ourselves fundamental questions. We think about what vocation has meant in our lives in the sense meant by John Henry Newman who wrote:
God has created me
To do Him some definite service;
He has given some work to me
Which He has not committed to another.

When we come to the later years, we are still exploring and pursuing this life calling. Griffin’s book is a wonderful guide for this exploration.

Emilie Griffin is a writer, editor and marketing consultant. A native of New Orleans, she worked at major ad agencies in both New York and New Orleans. She is the author of many books on Christian spiritual life, including Wonderful and Dark Is This Road and Doors into Prayer.

I highly recommend her new book. In a genre that is way too bloated with sappiness, puffery or just boredom, this is simply one of the best spirituality books in years. She's honest enough to say that God isn’t always dazzling. Sometimes God is merely friendly. "In any event it is our assent that lets him respond to our need.”

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