Jesus, My Father, the CIA and Me. Ian Morgan Cron

At the age of sixteen, Ian Morgan Cron was told by his mother that his father, a motion picture executive, also worked for the CIA in Europe. This astonishing revelation, coupled with his father’s dark struggles with alcoholism, upended the world of a boy struggling to become a man. Decades later, as he faces his own personal demons, Ian realizes the only way to find peace is to voyage back through a childhood marked by extremes–privilege and hardship, violence and tenderness, truth and deceit–that he’s spent years trying to forget. In this surprisingly funny and forgiving memoir, Ian reminds us that no matter how different the pieces may be, in the end we are all cut from the same cloth, stitched by faith into an exquisite quilt of grace.

They were Amazon’s words… Here are mine.

Ian’s new book unnerved me at times. His writing humorous whilst so raw and candid. He lays it all out there with a vulnerability and refreshing honesty that challenges my world. He writes at the start of the book that it is an ‘memoir of sorts’ We could all write an ‘of sorts’, leaving room for imagination, hearsay and our own perception.

This book, Cron says it isn’t so much how he saw it but how he felt it.

He knew poverty, prosperity, he knew fear and more, he strived to connect with his father.

He knew failure and insecurity.

He knew dysfunction and working a house of silence.

Yet through all of this he saw the ‘golden thread of God’s unfinished business of grace’

Those fine golden gossamer threads – I am thankful to see them everywhere.

Some of my favorite lines/quotes from his book:

On his Nanny – a lovely English lady – I like lovely English ladies so she naturally gets a mention.

”I assumed that if Nanny could get through the Blitz in one piece, then she could get us through our childhoods. It just wouldn’t be as easy.”

The recounting of his first Friday as altar boy at 9 years old, with Nanny mistakenly sending him off to church at 3:30am instead of 5:30am. The dark church, the priest and his Mother arriving half dressed captures the imagination and made me smile.

On the Eucharist. His first ‘official’ communion.

“I never told anyone how fascinated I was by the Eucharist…the harmonic frequency that rings at the center of the heart of God made something vibrate in mine while all this was going on…He placed the Host on my tongue…and I fell into God”

His mother. Woke the kids. Took them on an adventure, a roller coaster after dark. Not once, twice but three times.

“I can see the couch from the kitchen. I stop cutting parsley and remember that [my mother] taught me how to ride the Dragon Coaster and what to do when you’re flung into the mouth of whatever it is you think will kill you. Throw up your arms and laugh until you come out the other side. That lesson has saved my life once or twice.”

And his children. I loved the story at the end of the book where he is learning to be less fearful and cautious, taught by his children.

“There is a big difference in life between a jump and a fall. A jump is about courage and faith, something the world is in short supply of these days. A fall is, well, a fall.”

and finally

“A boy needs a father to show him how to be in the world. He needs to be given swagger, taught how to read a map so that he can recognize the roads that lead to life and the paths that lead to death, how to know what love requires, and where to find steel in the heart when life makes demands on us that are greater than we think we can endure”

The author began each chapter with a great quote. These hit me:

‘Alcoholism isn’t a spectator sport, Eventually the whole family gets to play. Joyce Rebeta-Burditt.

‘A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down’ Arnold H. Glasgow.

‘To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power’ Maya Angelo

‘It doesn’t matter who my father was, it matters who I remember he was’ Anne Sexton.

If you read it, let me know your thoughts

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