I have been reading a book that was loaned to me by a friend.
Loaned. Not given.
As a general rule, when given a book on loan, one should protect that book, keeping the pages smooth (no dog-earing the corners) and barely opening it so as not to crack the spine. One should avoid using the book to set ones’ coffee cup on so it won’t spill on the couch. One should also refrain, no matter how poignant a word, sentence or phrase of said book, from underlining or highlighting anything.
Unless one just can’t refrain one page longer and wildly lets her pen fly.
I made it all the way to page 73.
That’s when I couldn’t take it anymore and began to underline insights that I needed to hear and wanted to revisit in the future.
I don’t read much that isn’t non-fiction/self-help/inspirational because I actually hate reading.
My brain considers reading work; not something you do for enjoyment.
I have a pretty short attention span which is why I only read about a chapter at a time ( or less, if the chapter is really long!) before I can’t focus anymore.
I also seem to forget what I read…unless-I underline it.
It helps me really “hear” what is being said through the text.
Sometimes I get a little crazy and try to listen to an Audio book. That’s sort of a disaster. I end up only understanding about half of the book because A, my mind wanders off and B, I can’t underline anything.
This morning, as I finished up this book, I decided to go back to the beginning and re-read the first 72 pages and underline anything that I didn’t learn the first time when I was reading “pen-free”. There was some pretty good stuff in there!
That’s when I had this thought about how my life can be divided up in to days that have moments or conversations or insights that are underlined and days that are just a run-on of activities and actions that are void and without intention and laden with duty.
Next to my sitting spot on my couch I have a basket of about 20 books that I have already read, at least once. Many of them I re-read every year and am delighted when I see that something I underlined the year before has actually been a growth area for me.
Other times I am surprised to pull a nugget of truth off of a page that was just plain naked. How could I have missed this last time I read it?!
By now, I have learned that I just wasn’t ready to receive that truth yet, or I was a different person or at a different place in my life then; I didn’t need to hear it until now. I couldn’t.
I want my life to be marked up — underlined (maybe, if I get a little wild, even highlighted or starred or circled!). I don’t want to go through several “pages” of my story where there is nothing worth underlining.
When I start to read a book that doesn’t compel me to underline anything, it goes back on the shelf or to Goodwill. I have no interest in finishing them.
Living a life with underlining doesn’t mean constant adventure or entertainment or morose, reflective thinking. For me, I think it means I look for ways to do the regular stuff with intentionality and awareness that there is something bigger going on that what is right in front of me.
It means that I look around for someone to serve and listen for God’s promptings to engage in my life in a way that has purpose outside of my tasks and chores and obligations.
Each day I am writing more of the story of my life. If I re-read it, would I come across anything that would make not underlining it unbearable?
Lord, help me live a life that is underlinable.