Love at the Speed of Email by Lisa McKay
Love at... is a wonderful holiday read. It's witty and thoughtful and it tells a great story. But for this accidental international, it's much more. -lisa b.
What I remember is that we were both waiting to speak to Scott White. I didn't know this pleasant looking woman standing alongside me who obviously wanted to speak to the same man I hoped to have a quick word with. It was a Sunday morning in California and Scott is a dear friend who happens to be on staff at a big and bustling church. We waited patiently. It seems that there are many who want a quick word with Scott :-)
When he turned around and saw us both, he broke into a big Scott smile. "Ah, my two favorite Lisas. And two of my favorite writers! You two should meet."
Next thing I knew it was a week later and I was having a coffee date with Lisa McKay. I was soon reading her essays. Her first book came out and I read that. Not too long after, Lisa was dropping in for a few nights at our place in Tanzania after a week of giving seminars in Nairobi. As I recall, we attended a karaoke party, the only one I've ever been to in more than 5 years in this country.
Life is funny. I can count on one hand the number of times I've been with Lisa (if you consider her stay at our house to be ONE time) but we're fast friends. Writing, and the global nomad life we have in common, will do that to people.
So it was that I picked up my Kindle and dove into Lisa's second book, Love at the Speed of Email, while sitting on a perfectly breezy verandah above the Indian Ocean enjoying five days of holiday last month. Love at... is a wonderful holiday read. It's witty and thoughtful and it tells a great story. But for this accidental international, it's much more.
Lisa was single when we first met. Now she's married and adds mommy to her list of current occupations that include international consultant and writer. Love at... tells the highly entertaining story of a relationship that evolved through intriguing/remarkable connections and late night emails. MANY long late night emails. At face value, then, Love at... is an endearing story of unlikely romance.
When I say unlikely, I don't mean that there's anything less than attractive and like-able about either Mike or Lisa. They're lovely! And well-suited to each other. It was merely unlikely because they were both busy living lives of service that took them to remote locations via countless flights and rickety bus-rides on bad roads that were nowhere near the bad roads the other was on. How they discovered each other, found time to correspond, meet, fall in love and get married, is truly good fun.
But, like I said, it's the other stuff in the book that stands out to me.
Like me, Lisa grew up carrying a passport (or two) from a country she didn't necessarily call home. Also like me, when she did have the chance to settle down and stop all the moving about, she chose not to. Yes, there was some choice there. But, as I understand only too well, there was an internal push, too. She had tasted the life of global service and she hankered for more. It felt right. And demanding. Mike, on the other hand, chose this untethered life ON PURPOSE! Driven by a need/desire to be useful and make a difference, he put himself on a plane and got out there to do something.
But beyond their romantic tale, the sweetness I find woven through their story comes from the questions asked and the observations made.
*Lisa knows the world is beautiful and painful. It is captivating, intriguing, depressing and exhausting. Yep.
*Many moves throughout childhood can leave you feeling like an outsider everywhere. Also, comfortable anywhere. That's good and bad. And how, in all of this, do we come to really understand our own selves? I've asked the same. A favorite line reads, "At what point do we become such practiced chameleons--sometimes choosing to blend in, others to stand out--that we no longer know our native color?" A life-long question.
*Writing helps some of us make sense of it all. Just as it is for me, writing is a spiritual discipline in Lisa's global existence. Another favorite line reads,"Like the chemicals on a photographic negative, it is the keyboard that helps me define my experiences." I get that COMPLETELY.
*Finally, God is big enough to be questioned and doubted. I like the honesty I hear in Lisa's voice as she experiences a hurting world while attempting to hold onto faith.
Love at the Speed of Email is deeper than a cute love story and lighter than a tome on the effects of global volunteerism and multiple moves. It weaves those threads together into a cheerful, honest and insightful read.
Check it out... Love at the Speed of Email