In the early 1990s, Canadian singer/songwriter Tom Cochrane said “Life is a Highway.” In Marcia Laycock’s latest book A Traveler’s Advisory: Stories of God’s Grace Along the Way she notes that even when the highway becomes a little bumpy, God is there to either smooth the way or get us through the rough patches.
The pocket-sized A Traveler’s Advisory (124-page, 8″ x 5″ book) packs more depth than it’s size would suggest. Laycock, an award-winning author, uses her experiences as a pastor’s wife, missionary and traveler as she looks at the highway of life in sections titled “In the Air,” “On the Road,” “On Vacation” and “Far Away Places.”
One of the strengths of the book is Laycock’s folksy writing style. Having met her at a number of writers’ conferences and interviewed her for Arts Connection, reading through A Traveler’s Advisory was like listening to her tell the stories in person.
Laycock weaves the memory and spiritual lesson into a seamless fabric
Take, for instance, this excerpt from her story “A Mini Parked Between Semis”:
I gripped the wheel of my Austin Mini and concentrated on the flow of traffic around me. I had never driven through this area before but I knew the route I had to follow would take me through the heart of a large city. There was no bypass to avoid the downtown traffic. I stayed in the middle lane to avoid vehicles turning left and right. As the city began to close around me, so did the traffic. I was already feeling a bit claustrophobic when a huge semi pulled up to my right. We both stopped at a red light.
Then another semi pulled up on my left. The two trucks effectively blocked out the sun. I glanced in my rear-view mirror just as a third semi pulled in behind me, stopping inches from my tiny bumper….”
The book’s other strength is the ease with which Laycock blends spiritual lessons into the narrative. I’ve read similar books where the lessons seem to be tacked on at the last moment as if to say: here’s the lesson, in case you didn’t get it.
Laycock weaves the memory and spiritual lesson into a seamless fabric. Again I turn to “A Mini Parked Between Semis”:
“I remembered looking into the rear-view mirror of my Austin Mini and seeing nothing but bumper. I remembered how those semis had blocked out the sun. And I remembered focusing on that stop-light, knowing that it would eventually turn green and let me get out of there. Sometimes life puts us in a box of pain and confusion. The only way to survive is to hang on to the One you know will get you out.”
A Traveler’s Advisory is a quick read, but a deep read. And a book that you’ll return to again and again because you’ll discover a new truth each time you read it.
For more about Marcia Laycock and A Traveler’s Advisory: Stories of God’s Grace Along the Way go to http://marcialeelaycock.com/