Jed J. Ramsey, a retired biology teacher at Lamar University, has written this collection of short meditations to “bring a smile or a memory to the reader at a time when he or she needs to have the mind stirred in that direction.” Very often, he succeeds.
Most of the 91 short essays, or “parables,” that make up his book center around a spiritual idea that has its roots in mainstream Christian theology. The spiritual ideas themselves, however, will probably be acceptable to readers of many faiths. The God that Ramsey writes about is one of love and inspiration, a God who sticks by human beings patiently as they figure out how to steer their course through life.
As is typical in books of this nature (Chicken Soup for the Soul, for example) some of these pieces are wonderful, most are enjoyable, and a few fall flat. The essays range from musings on common life experiences (often involving Ramsey’s grandchildren) to recollections from his past. Some are humorous, and more than a few offer gentle life lessons. Each short essay is preceded by a Bible citation that relates to the piece that follows, but one need not read the Bible verses to enjoy the book.
One can quibble with some of Ramsey’s choices. He tells us in his Introduction that he was charmed as a young man by some essays on parenthood that had been written by a retired minister around the turn of the last century. Ramsey has emulated those writings by referring to his wife, Frances, as “Francesca,” to his daughter as “the daughter of Francesca,” and to his granddaughter as “the daughter of the daughter of Francesca.” This mannerism lends a stilted quality that the book could do well without.
In all, though, this is a book that many readers will enjoy. Ramsey’s calm and modest writing style allows the spiritual depth in many of these pieces to shine.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.