Have I mentioned I love to read? I used to never think of reading when people asked if I had a hobby, because it’s just so integrated into my life. Reading is more like an addiction than a hobby for me, albeit a socially acceptable one, so I haven’t begun a 12-step program yet. My husband jokes that he is a book hoarder so until he decides to reform, I think I’ll stay a reading addict. It just seems too convenient. It’s like we were made for each other! *swoon* Although I enjoy books, I’m not a speed reader, and I don’t tend to finish lots of books quickly, because I love to savor them, to truly ingest what I’m learning and let it work its way into me. I journal about books I’m reading and mull them over for awhile. That’s just my style. And that’s why the colored pens. (I also like to be warm while reading-that’s why the socks. Yeah, I know you’re jealous of how attractive they are. I call them my sexy socks, for obvious reasons. I mean, who can resist the “puffy feet” look they give me. No one, I tell you. No one.)
I’ve read many, MANY books in my life, but there are a few that have been truly formational to my spirituality. (Although “Clifford Makes a Friend” made its way into the picture, it’s surprisingly not one of those spiritually enlightening reads, but Clifford is a big part of our life in this house, so, there it is on the couch.) To meet my need in this Lent season of “returning to basics”, and “being enough”, I’m rereading some of my favorite books and letting them sink into me again. Books are like treasures to me, and their authors like helpful friends and mentors who have guided me along in life and shown me things I otherwise would not have seen. I figure it’s just plain selfish to keep treasures like that to myself. So my plan is to dedicate a post every now and then to sharing treasures I’ve found, and I’ll just call them “my favorites”. I’ll start with one by Henri Nouwen.
Henri Nouwen was a priest and scholar, who taught at the University of Notre Dame, Yale Divinity School, and Harvard Divinity School, but chose to lay that prestigious academic life aside in favor of living in L’Arche Daybreak community, living with and serving those with mental and physical disabilities. Anyone who would make that choice immediately has my attention. The beauty of his books are that they are tiny, easy to read, but VERY profound, and are just bursting at the seams with the love of Jesus and evidence of a life completely given to him. I absolutely LOVE reading this man’s work.
Here is one I just re-read, called “The Way of the Heart”. In it, Nouwen presents solitude, silence, and prayer as disciplines that have become somewhat unpopular, but are very necessary to pave the way for a sustainable, abundant life in Jesus. There are so many profound quotes from this book, I find a new one every time I read it. It is less than a hundred pages so there is literally NO excuse not to read it. NONE. I just checked today and you can even buy a used copy from amazon for a penny + $3.99 shipping & handling. I promise you it is well worth the 4 bucks.
But if “The Way of the Heart” is not really your jam, you could also try “Clifford Makes a Friend”. It’s a spectacular choice as well. 😉