Playdates: Books

It is raining. The wind hums to me down the chimney and a few errant drops plink, plink, plink on the grate in the hearth. The smell of spring comes with those metallic notes and the robins sing their robin songs outside the window as they scour the saturated earth for a soggy breakfast. The robust gusts and the lightening have passed, taking with them our electricity, so I sit here with candle lit–letting the quiet inhabit the space of me. The dogs are sleeping and the fire alarm starts chirping every so often—just to let me know: There is no backup. This could be dangerous.
No playing outside today. I am still nursing a migraine from yesterday afternoon–my head tender, my eyes heavy. I don’t want to move quickly, I want to creep slow through this day.  The rain is tender; it rocks my achy head in a steady rhythm.
I start thinking of my backup.
I remember my sister and me as girls, sitting cross-legged on the bedroom floor as sheets of rain dash against the windows.
What do you want to do?
The possibilities were endless back then, but here I sit—cannot do the laundry that needs doing, no possibility of vacuuming in the near future, no internet access…
I’m in this house all alone with no power when I feel The Power ask:
What do you want to do?
And I smile.
We curl up on the couch with that flame aflicker and read. The light from the window is all we need and we are wrapped in words and each other. It is more than following words with eyes when we are together. I think of something I read recently and it names what we do:
The method of prayer proposed for lay persons and monastics alike in the first Christian centuries was called lectio divina, literally “divine reading,” a practice that involved reading scripture, or more exactly, listening to it. Monastics would repeat the sacred words with their lips so that the body itself entered into the process. They sought to cultivate through lectio divina the capacity to listen at ever deeper levels of inward attention. Prayer was their response to the God to whom they were listening in scripture and giving praise in the liturgy. (Thomas Keating in Open Mind, Open Heart).
We do read scripture, but we don’t stop there. I have this stack of books I’m working through and I offer the words of each one up to Him. We toss them back and forth, hold them in our hands, question each other about what they might mean. This is prayer conversation.
When my son was a toddler, he loved his picture books. He would sit in the floor surrounded by stacks and stacks of stories. One by one, he would pull his favorites. He would follow the simple words with his chubby fingers, pointing to the colorful illustrations with a look of concentration on his face. He loved his books so much that sometimes he would taste them.
I bring one of my books to my lips. I press it flat against my mouth, but I don’t bite. Instead, I breathe in its paper-scent, close my eyes and let dizzy love grip me.
My friend asked me just the other day, do I sometimes feel guilty for “just sitting there reading”? She said she was feeling mildly so. Do I feel that way? Yes, I said, I do, because there is always something else that needs doing. Always something that only mom can do.
I laugh at the gift of no electricity as I remember this.
Did you do this for me? For us? So we could read together?
There is nothing but quiet in the house and I snuggle into pillows and a soft blanket and turn pages with new love in my fingers.
How about you? How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. And come tell us about it.
Grab the Playdates button from the sidebar!

 Sharing with L.L. Barkat today also:

On In Around button
**the photo of my little redbird is compliments of ELK. She works wonders with paper!


  1. says

    Losing the electricity sounds like a precious gift Laura. It is good to be able to slow down and not have the mind racing ahead to the next task.
    I am struggling with this matter of prayer. What is the best book you’ve read so far? I need a bit of help.
    I’m sorry I haven’t anything to link to your post with. I must think about making a play date. It sounds so good.

  2. says

    I am sorry you are feeling bad but sometimes a ‘pause’ helps us slow down and enjoy the quiet and peaceful moments. Reading is good if it doesn’t make you dizzy. I am learning to enjoy the quiet, no radio, no tv just silence.

  3. says

    I’ll be looking forward to linking up the next part of the story later–to ‘playdates’…

    but for now, i loved this, except your migraine:(…i got most excited about Nouwen’s ‘Return of the Prodigal Son’ being on your stack. THAT was the exact book I was thinking of when I commented on your last past…moving from the younger to the older brother to the Father as we become like Him…and yes, always knowing the embrace of the Prodigal God.

  4. says

    Well, you can’t bring a Kindle to your lips and breathe in paper now, can you? I love that you did this and love that you accepted the gift of time to read by candlelight. Looks like a great stack of books!

  5. says

    So sorry you’re afflicted with migraines–how deeply I can sympathize from my own experience. But how wonderful of God to have the power off to keep it both dim and quiet for you. The candlelight read sounds marvelous. Just loved this!

  6. says

    So bummed it appears I missed out on the link.
    But I loved the day of rest I had in the Lord today. I did post a short little story of my missed date. Blessings

  7. http://claires] says

    Laura, I love this qoute from a CS Lewis film, in it CS Lewis turns this phrase over and over ‘you are never alone with a book’.

    Reading a book is one of the most compelling connections we can make on this planet. It can takes us almost anywhere, The Bible even calls us to God.

    Thank you for a great post x

  8. says

    My favorite part of this post is how your toddler son would taste the books. What a tender, funny image…one I’ll be remembering for some time.

    If you ever want help with those migraines, just ask. Mine were so bad, I was in and out of the hospital until a neurologist from Johns Hopkins rescued me.

  9. says

    Oh this sounds like heaven itself — rain thrumming on panes, lights out, no computer access (!), to read, curled and cozy. A playdate with God for sure.

    I will link up late this week — on Thursday…if it’s still open! I have something in mind that might work…it’s a stretch, I admit. I haven’t ever thought of a playdate with God you know. Thank you for pushing me outside of the box a bit…in a good way, of course!

  10. says

    The paragraph about bringing the book to your lips and smelling. . . beautiful. Life has been full this week. I need to go pick up a book and smell it even if I don’t read.

  11. says

    I get migraines too. I know the feeling of nursing one’s head.

    Love this post…the image of your toddler with his books….and of you with nothing to do but read. So happy about it, too.

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