by Karen Ball
If you came to visit my office, you’d see my walls are lined with bookshelves. Twelve in all—six ceiling-to-floor shelves and another six half that height. Plenty of room for all my books, right? Yeah, that’d be nice. I still have box upon box of books, all awaiting the day they can come out and play. Trouble is, I’m out of room for bookshelves. So I find myself faced with the painful duty of culling. I’ve done this difficult task probably 10 times since we moved here 8 Thanksgivings ago, and still the boxes aren’t empty.
What can I say? I love books. Always have. The feel of one in my hands, the smooth pages under my fingers, the welcoming typeface that works magic and brings worlds to life…worlds that sometimes are more real to me than the one I actually live in. Worlds peopled with characters and creatures that have become threads in the fabric of who I am.
Books are, quite simply, a miracle.
What but a miracle could let me once again be a child, sitting at my mother’s side? Could let me know, as well as I know my hometown, locations around the world and beyond? Could bring peace in the midst of turmoil, laughter in the face of dread, acceptance in the stead of anger. What but a miracle could share words that ring so true they live on years after I’ve read them? Words that make me see, make me smile, make me surrender and change…
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
“I am what I am. I would tell you what you want to know if I could, for you have been kind to me. But I am a cat, and no cat anywhere ever gave anyone a straight answer.”
“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”
“If you have no faith in yourself, then have faith in the things you call truth. You know what must be done. You may not have courage or trust or understanding or the will to do it, but you know what must be done. You can’t turn back. There is now answer behind you. You fear what you cannot name. So look at it and find a name for it. Turn your face forward and learn. Do what must be done.
“Is it not unsupportable to be held down to a canter when you long to gallop for miles?”
Do some of these words live in you as well? What words, thoughts, and ideas have books planted within you? What words still live on, coming out to play at the wisest, most opportune moment?
This Advent season, I want to invite you on an exploration with me. Advent is a season of hope and celebration. A season to ponder in your heart Immanuel: God with us! To ponder the many ways God has met you. So over the next few weeks, I’ll invite you in to my office for a visit. Because I have some friends there I’d like you to meet. The friends who shared the words above…and others.
So until next week, blessings upon each and every one of you!