A Flame Moving Easy in Harness: Chatting with Heather King
Heather King is a woman capable of speaking lucidly and mystically, in whole, complete paragraphs, and she makes a point of calling herself an ex-lawyer, ex-drunk Catholic convert. Her memoirs chronicle that journey with searing honesty, sometimes rollicking good-humor, and a great deal of spiritual depth. She has described the first book, Parched, as a look at "the dark years," and the second, Redeemed, as a "crawling toward the light."
Her latest is Shirt of Flame: A Year with Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, which she touches on in a rousing, thoughtful interview.
Thérèse wrote under obedience. You sort of write under obedience, too, don't you?
In a sense, yes. I am not affiliated with any movement, organization, cause, politics, or institution other than the Church. But that "other than the Church" is key. Without the Church, I am nothing. My "authority" is Christ; my authority is my heart.
I was trained as a lawyer and a big part of my search consisted in having "achieved" what supposedly constitutes the American dream and discovering that that particular version of it was killing me. I want to emphasize that lawyering is absolutely the call of someone else's heart. Lawyering is absolutely where someone else is meant, and is going, to bring Christ into the world. It's just that that is not where I was going to, and so I underwent a major spiritual crisis that consisted of trying to discern God's will for me and discovering, as many of us do if we're lucky, that God does not "want" us to do the grim, hard thing. He wants us to do the absorbing, exciting, "come-higher-friend" hard thing, which turns out to be exactly what we want, too.
And so, you . . .
So I quit my job, embarked upon the precarious life of a freelance writer and eighteen years of blood, sweat, tears, and three books later, I just received a comment on my blog saying, "I've always thought you were a bit self-absorbed but I see you're beginning to move away from that. Good work!" Part of me wanted to laugh and part of me wanted to cry. Part of me wanted to say, "Oh, don't hold your breath if you're waiting for me to stop being self-absorbed!"