My husband and I went on a weekend trip without our little sweetheart for the first time a few weekends ago. I brought my kindle and was able to crack open a book (that wasn’t a Christian self-help book OR a parenting book that is) for the first time since Logan was born. I chose “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics” by Daniel James Brown.
You may wonder what the big deal is, but those who know me well know how much reading this book must have meant to me over the past week and a half. Before I became a mom, I used to hold a steady pace of 2 books a month. I love reading. I always exclaimed I would never give up my favorite pastime even as a mom. I didn’t exactly keep that promise as moments of free time became times to literally pass out or actually get some cleaning done. But it has felt, for the past 20 months, that a part of me has been missing.
Reading has allowed me to become a part of so many other people’s stories. My favorite genre is non-fiction biographies. I love reading about other people’s lives, taking in the lessons they learned, the hardships they endured, the triumph they experienced. Reading books has allowed me to be in the POW camp with Louis Zamperini, experiencing his pain and his determination right along with him. Rejoicing with tears flowing down my face as he accepts Jesus as His Savior (“Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand). Or cheering on the brave Americans who fought at Iwo Jima and wondering how it is possible those boys were the same age as the young boys that sat in front of me in the classroom. To pour myself into their story so I can appreciate their sacrifice in a special way (“Flags of our Fathers”by James Bradley).
I can barely wait to read with my children. Don’t get me wrong, I read a mean “Good Night Moon” with the best of them, but I am highly anticipating reading chapter books to them! I love biographies but I have my share of favorite works of fiction! I can’t wait to watch the wonder in my children’s eyes as they hear about 4 children walking into the snowy world of Narnia through an old wardrobe filled with coats. As they cheer on Eustace when Alsan removes his dragon skin, knowing they don’t fully understand the beauty of that metaphor, and hoping someday they will re-read it with tears in their eyes and a hope in their hearts!
What a privilege to watch them join Bilbo Baggins on his journey to claim the treasure from the Dragon. To watch them excitedly cheer Bilbo on when he is trapped with Gollum and has to answer riddle after riddle. To see the horror on their faces when Bilbo gives in to the ring’s power, and then to be able to teach them about sin’s power and what it can do to you.
And then there’s Harry, Ron and Hermione. What an adventure my kids will get to experience for the first time (jealous!). How exciting for them to see the wonder of Hogwarts in their imgainations, to follow the journey of the 3 protagonists with a love for each of them in their hearts, and to see evil in a way that makes them hate it and hate how it hurts the characters they love. I can see the light in their eyes as they experience GOOD triumphing EVIL. I can imagine Nathan listening in and getting into the stories too after years of me telling him how amazing they are. 🙂 I can barely stand it! (And another plus, eventually those 2 degrees in theater will benefit my children, I guess. ;))
Reading also allows us to take in the deep thoughts of those more skilled than us. I can pick up a book by John Piper or Paul Tripp and soak in the wisdom God has graciously given them. I can see things differently because someone else was able to write down their thoughts so eloquently. I can learn; I can grow.
The Gospel Coalition put out a great summer reading list this morning. You can find that article here. Mentioned in the article was a quote by Albert Mohler:
“Reading is an individual act that, at its best, overflows into our relationships, conversations, and generous sharing. Good books make us think as we read and reflect. The best books make us think deeply, without the overwhelming sense that thinking is what we are doing.”
I’m thankful for all of the authors out there that share their imaginations, or that research a person’s life until they are blue in the face, or that are brave enough to share their own stories. I am thankful for the *countless* hours and the mind-numbing work that they put into writing a book. It is not in vain!
I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t encourage you to read! You may be surprised at what you find has changed within you by the end of the story.