There was a time, after I graduated from seminary, that I didn’t read. I simply didn’t enjoy it at all. I read. I just didn’t like it. I had read so much through high school, college and then graduate school, that I just didn’t want to read anymore. I didn’t think it was a big deal. One of dearest friends was an avid reader. He inhaled books. And he was always spouting off about what he had read, what he had learned, what interesting story he had run across. And then he would ask me the question, “so what are you reading?” I always answered with a simple “nothing.” That was, to be exact, what I answered at first. He would then rant and rave about me not reading, wondering how on earth I was going to continue to learn, continue to lead, continue to grow. I soon got to the point that I wouldn’t answer him at all; I’s just stand there, mute. And smile.
One day he and I had a long conversation about reading. I was out of school and Jan and I didn’t have children yet. He encouraged me to read. He told me to be reading 5 books at a time, one in my field of study, one outside my field of study, one for inspiration, one for fun, and one that would teach me something. To someone who wasn’t reading at all at the time, that was pretty overwhelming. But I respected my brother and was always intrigued at what he had to share from some book he had read. I knew I needed a reading intervention.
I knew this reading challenge would only be fulfilled from within. There was nothing outside that would cause me or force me to read. It simply wasn’t there. So I prayed a simple prayer. “Dear Lord, help me to read. Help my desire to read. Make it fun. Let me enjoy it. Amen.” And then I waited. I waited for something to happen. Nothing happened. For several weeks I would pray that prayer when I thought about it, and then would wait. After a period of time I decided to pick up a book. As I opened the pages, it was like a door had been unlocked. My reading was slow at first. Over time I had to learn how to read a little quicker. It simply came with practice. Over time, I came to love to read. Now time is the problem, not the desire to read!
For Christmas my mother-in-law gave me a devotional book, Grace Notes, Daily Readings with a Fellow Pilgrim, by Philip Yancy. I have never read anything by Yancy, but have known the name for many years. I was interested in this little book. It has proved to be quite a gem. An award winning journalist and currently editor-at-large for Christianity Today, Yancy is a gifted writer. His insight and way with words are wonderful. They cause me to think, often times challenging my current thoughts and sometimes bring me to tears at the poignancy of his story. I encourage you to read something by Philip Yancy. It’ll be worth it!
It was after I began reading that I also began writing. Short snippets for a Wednesday night to a group of people much like yourself. But over the years it has become a discipline. Every week I sit down and jot some notes, trying to make sense of life and the everyday happenings around me. Many of you have been included in this over the years. Thanks for reading. Thanks for sharing.
So I just have one question for you, “so what are you reading?”