Come Matter Here
By Hannah Brencher
“This has definitely been the best story I’ve gotten to live so far, though I can’t place a bow on top of it and give it a happy ending or make it sound more complete than it really is. I’m not looking for that any more. This story will keep going. I’m done with thinking I will ‘arrive someday’ and that arrival will somehow fuel my completion. I’m already here.”
Alright friends, I’m letting you know in advance, if you ask me for a book recommendation for 20-somethings it’s going to be this one right here: Come Matter Here by Hannah Brencher. The Foreword of the book mentions that you will need at least 3 pens for this book and I 100% agree. I have underlined the majority of this gem.
I read the page in the photo above and I was hooked, because she’s spot on! How many times have I gotten in a car or jumped on a plane, thinking that I was leaving behind what I didn’t want to deal with? (It’s a large number.)
But a little later in the book my jaw actually dropped because it was like reading about myself on the page.
“I kept wishing I were back in a place where I’d naturally feel someone put their arm around me in the middle of the service and it just felt safe–like I was wanted in that place. And the whispers of my heart roared, I don’t want to rebuild. That’s what we never plan for. We plan for growth. We plan (and hope) for acceptance. We plan for abundance. We plan for friends. We plan for adventure. But we don’t sit down and plan to rebuild. That was never a part of the instant plan. (p.47)
“Television shows neglect the whole six-month period when you feel utterly alone and insignificant while also being ‘the new girl.’ There is no funny opening chorus or cute neighbor next door. It’s just you burning eggs in the kitchen. You FaceTiming friends who are hundreds of miles away.” (p.61)
These two quotes absolutely stunned me. I kept thinking HOW DOES SHE KNOW?! How does she know what this feels like?! Has she had secret access to my mind at some point?! From the whisper roaring, “I don’t want to rebuild” to burning eggs in the kitchen, this was so spot on.
I have done those things. I have. I have been walking around over the past few months chanting in my heart: I don’t want to rebuild. I don’t want to rebuild.
Over and over and over.
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I have been standing in the kitchen by myself and accidentally burning the eggs, only to see myself standing there with a frying pan of burnt eggs wondering: Is this really what it’s going to be like?
I started laughing out loud when I read this. Not that chuckle/sigh thing that last a half second. Actually laughing out loud. In that nervous yet relieved laugh that sounds a lot like hope.
Hope that said something like:
“I’m not the only one who has ever felt like this.”
But what’s even greater is the author also shares how she kept putting one foot in front of the next, even (especially) when it got really dark and really hard. I honestly want to quote this entire book for you so that you can hear all of her stories and all of her wisdom and lessons she learned, but I won’t because you really just need to go buy it and read it for yourself.
I will finish this up by leaving a few of my favorites toward the end though (I highlighted every single word on the last 4 pages of the book, so here are my favorites):
“I hope you say yes to the things that scare you. I hope you say sorry when sorry is due. I hope you don’t ghost people. I hope you become a respecter of stories you don’t understand and ask all your questions while you have the time and space. Accept invitations to art shows and cooking classes. Say yes to Tinder dates and learn how to pray. We’re all in a club we never talk about, this club with no meetings called ‘trying the best we can.’ We all have badges and stripes of honor in this club. We all have a lifetime membership.” (p.232-233)
“I hope you’re not a spectator in the lives of other people. Be in the stories. Show up, show up, show up.” (p.233)
“More than anything, I hope you know how much it matters that you’re here. You’re not waiting to arrive. There are people who need you. There are churches that need you. There are miracles waiting in the wings for all of us, but we have to be able to wake up and see them. There’s no reason for them to come sauntering onto the stage if we aren’t in the audience, attentive and ready.” (p.223)
It’s about “being where your feet are” and realizing that all your problems will not disappear if you pack up a car and change your location, because everything you don’t want to face gets in the car too. It’s about the traveler changing. It’s about being deliberate rather than impressive. It’s about staying in love with people, jobs, and cities even when they begin to look pretty ordinary. It’s about being a living, breathing invitation for people to Come Matter Here. It’s real + challenging + so so needed. I want to mail a copy to everyone I know.
If you end up reading this, let me know what you think!