I am a great reader. And by that I mean I love to read, not that I am good at it, whatever good at it might be. But I read. A lot. I breathe in words, daily, like air. I read from almost all the categories. I can’t really do genre romance, but other than that … you could give me a cookbook and if I was desperate for the words, I’d consume it, cover to cover.
I love books for different reasons. I can escape into a Robert B. Parker and his quick and quirky dialogue. I love me some Kathy Reichs or some Sue Grafton from time to time. I was sad when I heard that Anne McCaffrey, who first introduced me to fantasy, had died earlier this year. I spent hours with her in the world of Pern.
I’ve spent time with many spiritual teachers through their books, from C.S. Lewis to Francis Chan to Beth Moore. I’ve been challenged, stretched, and even disheartened at times by the things I’ve read.
More recently, I’ve been a blog reader. I’ve had favourites I’ve read daily for a season and then discarded, and some I keep coming back to. Many of the ones to which I return are written by women in their thirties, full of discussions of mommas and babes, of healthy eating, of community of motherhood. Of doing it differently, and I remember that time in my life, when being a mother was all-consuming and the children were almost the whole of my world.
I’m encouraged by these women, by this generation of seekers and writers. But sometimes, what I feel when I read these passionate women’s words is, maybe, left out? Or passed by? And maybe, even, a little condescension on my part. Although it hurts to confess these thoughts, because part of me would like to still be the young mom with the years ahead. Or at least to be considered a part of that group. And I want to say to them that one day they will look back and realize that, no matter how they tried to do it right or better than it had been done before, the children grow and separate and do their own thing, and then the whole world is about the whole world. A big old world, waiting.
But I love to read their words. To read about their desires for radical love, and radical hope, and radical parenting, and radical worship. Radical seems to be the thing. The adjective to describe the yearning that is out there, to make it all more.
I read the words. I breathe them in, gulp them down in noisy swallows, and I think that I, middle-aged and with the children growing and the church hurting and the marriage aging, I want to be radical, too.