I spend a lot of my time reading. I read a lot of books. I read quickly. Sometimes I think I need to slow down my reading and spend a little more time with each book I read. For the last two weeks, I have had no choice.
Two weeks ago I began reading a book that has been in my “to read” pile for months. After reading the first chapter I put the book down on my desk and went to lunch with my wife. Several times during lunch that day she remarked about how quiet I was. She finally asked if something was bothering me.
The reason I was so quiet is because that chapter I read was consuming all my mental energy. I read 17 pages and put the book down on my desk but the profound thoughts of that chapter were still with me at lunch.
Later that afternoon I again picked up the book, thinking I would read chapter two. Instead, I looked over chapter one again. The same thing happened the next morning and afternoon. In fact, the same thing has happened every morning and every afternoon for the last two weeks. I can’t move on to chapter two because I cannot stop reading chapter one.
In this same time period I have read several other books. I have had no trouble plowing through chapter after chapter. I have been blessed by some of the other reading I have done. But I cannot get beyond that one chapter in the book I have been reading for two weeks. Yes, there are times when I should slow down my reading, but this is not what I had in mind.
This afternoon I will try yet again to read chapter two. But in my heart I know I will not be able to move on until I have fully digested some of the most profound thoughts I have ever read in chapter one.
If you are looking for a good read for the holidays, I have a suggestion for you. I feel a bit silly recommending a book when I have only read one chapter, but if the rest of the book is worthless, this chapter would still be worth the price.
The book is entitled Turn My Mourning Into Dancing and subtitled Finding Hope in Hard Times.It was gleaned from the unpublished writings of Henri Nouwen (pronounced Now-Wen). It focuses “not on how we can survive hard times, but how we can live fully in the midst of them and beyond.”