Playdates with God: For the Love of Books

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This morning when I arise the full round face of the moon leers at me through the window. This dark winter morning is suddenly quenched and I stand with my candle—enthralled. The sky must have shaken off a night shower because the trees are scattered in dew and the light falling down catches each rounded drop and blinds me with beauty. I press my forehead to the glass and marvel that this glowing light really has no light of its own at all—but rather it is a mirror. This morning shimmer reminds me how the things I see give skin to things unseen.

When my boys were little, we went through a fascination with the moon. I was reminded of this gentle season as I sifted through their books this weekend for donations for a local book drive. I came across Tolkien’s Roverandom and let the memory of reading together fill my heart.  When the dog in the story climbed to the moon on a moonbeam, my babies wondered if they could do the same. This led to other books about the moon, about the sky, about the stars, and the way God made the earth so unique in a sea of black space.
I’m still fascinated with the moon.
I gathered up a truckload of books for the book drive, but I tucked our moon books back in the shelf. It’s not that often one gets to hold a memory in one’s hands. All told it took me about four hours to go through my boys’ bookshelves. The task itself was monumental, but it was the emotional side of things that kept tripping me up. Deciding what to keep and what to give away…so many books.
Last night at dinner I told a friend, “It’s almost obscene the number of books we have!”
And we reminisced about the library and Encyclopedia Brittanica and my husband talked about the rigorous process of writing his dissertation.
“They take information for granted,” I said, remembering the anticipation of a trip to the town library; thinking of all the crisp, rarely touched books I have piled in the back of my van for giving away.
Having books at home is a big predictor in school success and how far students go in school, our newspaper boasted when announcing the book drive.  Children who develop a habit of reading for fun tend to read more and improve with practice. They also tend to get better grades and test scores than children who do not read for fun.
“Well, now they have the internet,” my friend responded.
It makes me feel old, thinking this way. But I still get butterflies in the tummy when I hold in my hands all those words bound together. It’s like holding so many worlds—holding history and the key to future all at once.
Over at The High Calling, we’re finishing up our book discussion of Karen Swallow Prior’s Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me. Have you read this lovely book? Oh, my goodness—it’s the perfect book for bookworms.
Oh, yes–when I hold all those words–all those worlds–in my hand…it points to the things unseen.
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.  

The Playdates button:

Comments

  1. ML Bucher says

    When I went through my books, my oldest son went behind me, pulling them back out. “Wait until the Moon is Full” – where it describes the moon as a raccoon’s whisker to my sons going beyond loving to the moon and back – loving to God’s beard and back! Some are keepers!

  2. Amy Anderson says

    When my husband and I went in the bookstore yesterday afternoon I said to him how glad I am that I haven’t yet purchased a Kindle or Nook. He loves his, and I know they can be good, but I still like those words in my hand in the form of a traditional book. Also, I’ve read the first chapter of Booked:) Continuing is at the top of my reading list for this week~excited. One more thing~my middle girl went through a Northern Lights phase. After reading about your moon phase, I’m thinking that would be fun too. The sky is limitless. Blessings this week to you, Laura. May there be plenty of time for books.

  3. pam says

    When our girls were in grade school I volunteered in the library. It was then that I began my grandma shelf of books. Of all the books the girls read I picked a few each year to add to our collection. We had heard that learning to read, stirring their fascination to want to keep learning to read better in those early years would open their world to anything they wanted to do, to be. We never had a huge collection at home but noticing the world around us led to lots of discussions that helped stir interest as well. When the girls got to college they were STUNNED that we could have ever done much in college without the internet. lol. Now I order books each week online for my 94 year old mother in law. I try and make sure she has at least 10 books each week. Books are a gift.

  4. says

    Laura, this post is a perfect storm…books, children, memory all colliding into one big beam of radiant warmth, under the light of the moon. I could stand in the shower of your words and forget to come in out of the rain.

  5. jodi @curiousacorn says

    “his morning shimmer reminds me how the things I see give skin to things unseen. ” it’s words like this that make me love you.

  6. says

    Oh yes, I know this feeling. I’ve been cleaning the shelves for months now, off and on anyway, trying to decide what to donate, what to keep for now, for later. Such an emotional job when you love books like we do.

  7. OutnumberedMom says

    Oh, Laura…my smile was immediate when I saw your title and photo. And then my heart sighed with yours at the wonder of the words — the worlds ! — we are blessed to hold in our hands. Kindred spirits, we.

  8. OutnumberedMom says

    Oh, Laura…I immediately smiled at your title and photo. And then my heart sighed with yours at the wonder of the words — the worlds! — we’re blessed to hold in our hands. Kindred spirits, we.

  9. says

    Feeling like your soul sister after reading this one. Can’t count the times I’ve bemoaned the fact that someday there may be a generation who won’t know the thrill of opening the crisp pages of a new book or turning the soft-dog-eared corners of a well-loved novel. I’m old fashioned, too- so glad that my kids still love to curl up with a book in their hands and explore new worlds. Hannah’s dance class is holding a book drive tomorrow, too, so we had the same experience over the weekend- a walk down memory lane as we sorted those baby board books we really don’t need anymore. No babies chewing up pages here now… but so many years of cuddling contained in those stories we chose to share. Making me teary eyed even now. Hope your week’s a great one.

  10. says

    Rowan and I cleaned out his bookshelf this weekend – I have two huge bags ready for donation. A couple he’d put in the pile (Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nihm!) I couldn’t part with, and slipped onto my own shelf. I’m so grateful that my kids love books {almost} as much as I do!

  11. Dawn Paoletta says

    Oh the stacks of books…I feel at home the minute I see them. HOw strong that you let some go. I am embarrassed of how many we have…they are stacked in the halls, in the corners…everywhere. I need to check out that book. A stack of books is all I need to feel at home anywhere.

  12. says

    I’m a book and word lover too, Laura. I’ve saved many of my boy’s favorite books, as did my mom from my favorites. They’re just too hard to give up. But I am shifting–got a Kindle for Christmas and must say, I’m loving it! Thanks as always, for giving us a peek into your heart and mind. I’ll have to check out Karen’s book. Sounds like a good one!

  13. Pamela says

    When I was a child, my first stop at the library was the restroom. I would get so excited! I love book and am sad to see so many bookstores go out of business. Thank you for this excellent peek into your love of books. I put Karen’s book on my wish list.

  14. Diane | An Extraordinary Day says

    Last night as we played dominoes with some good friends, I looked out and saw the moon peeking from behind stripes of clouds. It was beautiful. I never tire of looking up it. Today…in faith, my husband is packing up our home library. Earlier I had gone through my books and donated them to a gal in our town who has a used book store. Usually we exchange for credit. But, this time, we want to lighten our load and bless her.
    I know this doesn’t have anything much to do with your post Laura except that these are little intersections in our lives.
    May your week be extraordinary!

  15. says

    Love these photos–you make the bound books look dreamy, all softly lit like that. And dreamy, they are. At least, to me, and to other kindred spirits who love to hold one in hand and turns it pages as they story slips into their souls.

    Thank you for inviting me to be part of this journey.

  16. says

    I have a thing for the moon, too. Worked on a moon poem this morning.

    And I started Karen’s book on Saturday. Now, I’m pausing to read “Great Expectations,” which I’d never read. Then, back to “Booked.” It may go like that and take me a few weeks.

  17. Linda Chontos says

    I have all those same feelings about books Laura. The fragrance in a used book store is like sweet perfume to me 🙂 When we moved, I had to sift through our books too. It’s so difficult to let them go. I slipped a few of the little golden books underneath my nightgowns in my dresser drawer. And a few from their growing up years made their way back onto the bookshelf.

    Yes – there is something about holding words in our hands. Such a gift.

  18. says

    Next to leaving family and my dog Steinway, the hardest thing about leaving for the mission field was giving away most of my books. A dozen years later, I still refer to it, wincingly, as “the purge.” Of course I probably have more now than I did then, so there’s no need for pity, but they do become friends and gateways to memories, don’t they? So much more than mere objects. It would be lonely to have a home with no books, yet many do. May all your donations find homes where someone will read the covers off them.

  19. says

    That one little phrase … “skin to things unseen” … has me pondering about all the ways God makes Himself present in our daily lives — through the moon, and through books, and filtered morning sunlight, and more. I love how you articulate it, my friend.

  20. Hazel Moon says

    As a child, I loved books and would rather read than play. My mother would often scoot me outside to gather up some sunshine. I still enjoy a good book, and have several that are as yet unread. I just finished Billy’s Paper Angels and one other one. I wrote my book one of my early childhood, so my children and friends could see I was not always a Saint. I am working on Book two – – which begins after marriage and then. Now The Good book is what I read a portion from daily.

  21. says

    Oh, I see you are a kindred spirit. I love the way a book feels in my hand as I read it — I am bemoaning that fact that I may one day have to own a kindle. I have books tucked into every corner of the house. Letting go of them is hard for me… so hard…

  22. says

    I know, Lyli, I know. I never would have gotten a Kindle if I hadn’t won mine in one of Mary DeMuth’s writing contests. And you know what? I love it! I can only read fiction on it, because I need to keep flipping back and forth in nonfiction–but there are so many free titles available (I recently downloaded Les Miserables) that I don’t think I would have otherwise. It’s pretty cool. But… nothing replaces the feel of a book in the hand. Nothing.

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