I love books. I really do. I love everything about them from the feel of their nearly smooth, weightless pages that beckon for my fingers to purposefully glide across them; to the rustling coo they make with each turn. I read intentionally and yet, ever so slowly, lingering maybe longer than necessary at intersections of words because I long to relish in the feeling of connectedness as long as possible. And if I am writing to a fellow book lover, you know the tantalizing smell of books…some describe it as “musty” or “old”, but I believe it’s the smell of wisdom, dreams, and love all bound together with string with the hope of sharing one’s soul with another. The smell wafts just beneath my nose and comforts me much the way a warm blanket just taken from the dryer might.
I’ll admit that some books plead for me to read them over and over again, while others sit content, collecting evidence of time, among my shelves watching over me as if to say, “I did my job well the first time around, but I’ll serve as a reminder of the time she discovered such and such or learned about this and that”. A few of my affectionately battered books stack seemingly haphazardly on my bedside table, while others rest, for now, on specially reserved shelves. Margins scrawled with thoughts, questions, names of loved ones, or prayers for understanding, guidance, or strength; phrases underlined, specific words circled… *sigh*, the mere picture brings peace to my heart. These books are my companions, delivering balm to my sometimes weary soul, offering encouragement when the storms of life seem to close in, teaching me lessons yet to be learned or, let’s be honest, to be relearned. Books are very much a part of who I am. Upon finishing each book, I hold it near my heart and feel as if I have gained a better sense of who I am. They nourish my soul in ways most other things cannot.
I love bookstores. Colorful spines, compelling titles, varying degrees of height, thickness, and depth, and genres galore greet me at the door and I feel as if I am home. If I thought it appropriate—heck, if no one would look my way, I would spin gloriously throughout the store with my arms outstretched, like Julie Andrews’ character, Maria in the Sound of Music. My mother taught me better however, so I’ll save those types of shenanigans for my real home! It is a rarity that I visit a bookstore and not walk out with an armful of books. I have absolutely every intention of diving into each and every one—and I am optimistic that I will! The guilty pleasure piece comes in when I admit that I have a plethora of unread books at home just waiting for their chance to breathe truth into this marrow of mine. I really have no business purchasing more books.
Several years ago, my silly husband asked me if I had ever noticed the big brick building on the left as I am driving into town. Brow furrowed, I questioned, “You mean, the library?”. You see, his sweet self was trying to feed my love for books while attempting to be a better steward of our finances. Of course, I know where the Library is and I frequent it often. However, I love, love marking in my books, which is funny for this type A girl, who likes things neat and orderly. This Type A girl would never think to destroy public property, hence the need to buy books. Asked why I mark in books, I can only say that it’s because I crave that connectedness, that mingling of thoughts with the author’s, and the necessity to digest in a tangible way (that is why I write).
I treasure the Word of God more than any other book simply because the connectedness, the level of belonging, of feeling held and loved and led– as I am— no matter what season of life I am in, surpasses any other book I’ve ever read. It is often referred to as the Living Word because it breathes life into me day in and day out. I see something new no matter how many times I’ve read it. Without a doubt, it is my life, my love, my joy, my teacher, my inspiration, my encouragement, my identity… my everything. I read a quote just today that explains my great, great love for the Word of God better than I could: “God’s Word. A love letter to my heart. A tool box for my hands. A shield for my mind. And a sword to use against the devil. What a gift” Lysa Terkeurst.