I read a lot, and talk about reading a lot. The stringing together of words for story is an art form I admire greatly; and one I aspire to achieve myself - with this blog and maybe someday a real life published novel or memoir - as a self-professed writer. There's nothing I love more than friends sharing books with me that have inspired them, or left them feeling all the emotions they don't quite know what to do with. Have you ever thrown a book across the room only to pick it up a week later and soak the pages with tears? I want to read that book!
I have stacks of books beside my bed, which I insist to my husband are simply readable art pieces, not clutter. If I had my way, there would be books lining the halls, and stacked on the stairs. I have lists of books to research and possibly buy or ask for as gifts for my birthday - which is in July, in case you were wondering. The 9th.
Reading calms my mind and gives clarity to the rumblings in my soul, elevating the back beat of my heart. I basically want to live in a library - more specifically, the one in Beast's castle. Incidentally, Belle was the first fictional, cartoon woman I've ever been jealous of.
There are a lot of people who've made resolutions to read more in 2016.
In fact, I came across another blogger's list of 20 books they think you should read this year and about half of them they admit they haven't read yet. I don't know how you can suggest a book to someone you haven't even read. It literally does not compute.
I haven't made any resolutions, but I have outlined some goals to help my brain organize the things I want to Make! Happen!
Would you be surprised if I told you I hope I read less this year?
It's strange for me to admit I am currently living in a state of refusal to read someone else's written creation. For a lover of words, a writer and blogger and devourer of books, I feel as if I am betraying all authors everywhere. But it has become a necessity, and I'm not sure when this personal ban will be lifted.
It could be at any time. I won't know until I get there.
We are on a break.
In the leaving of ministry and the quitting of corporate church, I admit there is a void in my life; a void I've needed desperately. It's called space, and it's quiet here; secretive, mysterious, and peaceful. It's like living every day floating in a pool; your ears underneath the water, the sounds muffled, easy to tune out.
Some say I'm experiencing a "crisis of faith", and almost every person I talk to about my process - which is a lot, because I openly write about it - offers me a book I "need" to read that is sure to help me formulate my thoughts and make some decisions. Decisions they are okay with me making. Because ultimately I think everyone wants me to be okay - but okay by their definition.
Guess what? I am okay. More than okay actually.
In choosing spirituality and finding freedom - not crisis - in the separating of what I've always known and what I truly believe, I will not read the book you think I need to read. The book is likely already on my shelf at home or scribbled in my journal. I will make a note, and I won't buy the book. Or you can offer to let me borrow your copy, but I'll decline because I know it will stay on my shelf untouched, gathering dust.
The truth is, as much as I like to think I have the ability to remain unaffected by a book, I know how easily influenced I can be. The written word is my porn addiction, so to speak. I'm not a follower by nature, but sometimes, when things are hard, I follow because I don't want to forge the path myself. Following feels easier, and I can take a break of wandering the road less traveled.
But I don't want to use someone else's words to define my beliefs and my personal view of God and all things religion.
I need to be in tune with my whole self and for me, that means taking a break from reading. And it's working. In this space of quiet mystery, God speaks and I know now more than ever he is, and always has been, with me.
The Discovery Project
Outside of reading though I'm not sure what to do with myself. Reading is how I learn and writing is how I know what I think about what I've learned. So I'm exploring other options because I don't think growth can happen without being intentional.
In my pursuit of discovery - of my whole self and what I truly believe - the space does induce moments of anxiety because of the isolation I can feel. Being alone with my thoughts is one thing; being alone with no one to speak my thoughts to is another.
I work with one person at my day job and if she's not there, I'm by myself. Without church, there are no large group gatherings I'm attending where I rub shoulders with a variety of people. I do not want to get so lost in my own head that I no longer hear my heart and lose the capacity for empathy or seeing things from alternate perspectives.
Today I consulted with a life coach and I have a plan.