Monday, April 02, 2018
A review of Kate Motaung's A Place to Land (launching today!)
Today is the launch day for Kate Motaung's memoir A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging. Kate is the coordinator of our Five Minute Friday community, and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading her memoir.
In touching prose, Kate writes of her upbringing as a child of divorce in Michigan, her calling to mission work in South Africa, her marriage to a South African man, and her mother's devastating cancer diagnosis.
Throughout the book, change and challenge constantly stretch Kate's sense of "home." It is heartrending to read of how torn she is as she tries to support her mother from a distance while raising a family and trying to obey God's calling on her life. But as she brings her questions and doubts to God, she is constantly reminded of God's faithfulness despite upheaval and loss, and that her (and our) true home is in God's presence.
The description of her mother's illness and death was the aspect of the book I related most strongly to, having lost my own mom to cancer in 2014 and knowing something of that struggle to provide support -- and to grieve -- at a distance. In an interview, Kate has said, "Writing about my mom’s death [was the most difficult part]. My eyes tear up just thinking about it ... But they were therapeutic tears, and I’m so glad I’ve documented the experience, since the memory does fade. You don’t think you’ll ever forget something like that, but the details do fade."
When asked "Who is this book for?" Kate has said, "Hopefully A Place to Land will resonate with people with a wide variety of experiences and backgrounds, but I think especially for those who are familiar with:
• Divorced parents
• Moving frequently
• Feeling unsettled
• Longing for more
• Dealing with cancer
• Loss of a mother (or loved one)
• Living cross-culturally"
I hope you'll consider reading this moving book. (It can be ordered here, by the way.) As Kate describes it, "It is a heavy book, but my prayer is that readers will find it therapeutic to reflect on their own difficult situations (even if it involves tears in the process), and that eventually they will land in a place of hope."