A few days ago I was waiting on the world’s slowest printer to finish a job. I know – new ones are very affordable and high quality. However, I can be cheap, er . . . uh, I mean “frugal” at times. While I was waiting for the papers to come out, I started staring at the two shelves packed with books above the printer. I looked closely at each book spine and started to reflect on why I had that book. Memories of people and places started flooding my mind. I also started to think about if it was given by someone, or what made me purchase it, and even what was going on in my life during that time period.
Special thanks to my grade school teachers and my mother for encouraging me to read and develop a love for it. However, I do have a horrible habit now of reading 2-3 books at a time (anyone else out there does this?) Below is a tiny sample of a few books that stood out and why:
- The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings – I originally checked out these from our school library back in 5th grade (the 70s!) – those tales were unlike anything I had ever read before. It still is my favorite non-fiction story. Those books also helped me discover the fantasy genre and peaked my interest in drawing.
- Building Your Mate’s Self Esteem – one of four required reading texts during our premarital counseling over 27 years ago. Timeless advice regarding the way we speak to our spouse. We learned the concept of how our words can create an upward or downward spiral in our relationship. That once you verbally proclaim something – it’s out there! The entire book is based on Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
- Wild at Heart – I was visiting a church for the first time on Father’s Day almost 17 years ago. At end of the service, the pastor casually mentioned picking up a copy of it for the men. No thanks, I had read enough men’s books to last a lifetime. About 3 months later – I saw one copy of it on the shelf at Half Price Books. I felt like it was whispering to me to buy it. To avoid hearing any more voices, I hesitantly purchased it. The book then sat on my shelf at home for about 3-4 months. For whatever reason, I picked it up one day and decided to start reading it. Besides the Bible, it has been the most impactful book on my life. It was if the author, John Eldredge was having a one-on-one counseling session with me over a cup of coffee. I had the chance to meet him at one of his retreats back in 2004, and now I read everything he cranks out.
- Paul Harvey’s The Rest of The Story – Was published in 1977, but given to me by my late grandfather when he saw I had an interest in reading it when I’d visit his home. Thinking about this book brings back great memories of both sets of my grandparents and the times that we shared. It also triggered thoughts of listening to Mr. Harvey on the radio while we drove to and from school – anxiously awaiting – what was the rest of the story??? (Some of you youngsters have no idea what I’m talking about).
It was an amazing mental exercise – almost every book had either people, a feeling, an event or a place attached to it. My encouragement is for you to give it a try. Find a quiet moment. Take a look at your book collection. Think about why you bought it, or who gave it to you, and what was going on in your life during that time? Get lost in the people, sights, and sounds. Maybe it was a difficult time period of your life. It could be time to pray for healing and extend forgiveness to the offending party. Or it might open a vault of happy memories and remind you of how far you’ve come on your journey.
If you’re comfortable – please share a title or two in the comments or on FB, and why that book is important to you.