Books: Distractions, Mysteries, and Beauty

As my physical abilities diminish, I have found a renewed comfort in reading books. Their stories allow me to escape into unique worlds, to learn new information, and to glimpse beauty through the eyes of many characters.

I have written before about revisiting childhood joys, and though my love of reading began at a young age, the hobby has never really left me. Instead, it has developed and grown with me throughout the years. 

However, I was reminded of its early entrance into my life by two things this week: a photograph and my current read (The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag, A Flavia de Luce Novel). 

In the picture, I am about seven years old and perched on a too-small tricycle with plastic wheels in a freshly-mowed green lawn. My heavy, chunky eyeglasses are falling down my nose as I concentrate on reading the paperback book in my hands, and though it is tank top and shorts weather, it's clear I can't be bothered with the typical distractions of summer. This was my life - easily ignoring my surroundings while looking intently (and intensely!) at neatly printed text on thin, crisp pages.

Not long after this photo was taken, I discovered Nancy Drew and her series of mysteries. The plucky, independent, and clever female protagonist became my friend and idol and kept me returning to the library as if they were handing out free candy. As I read, I tried to solve the mystery before Nancy, counting a few successes and relishing in my achievements.

Both memories live on in my adulthood. I can still tune out distractions when reading and actually find it helpful when unpleasant thoughts or painful feelings threaten to take over my day. I also continue to seek out mysteries, like the Flavia de Luce series, ensuring mental exercise along with the thrill of competing with the characters to solve the crime. 

And the more I read, the better the view becomes as I look for the beauty.

What beauty does reading bring into your life?

Are there genres from your past that brought you to a special place? Where will your next book take you?

Some doorways from this week:

  • I was able to see two live musical theater shows this week, and I was amazed at the talented cast who sang, danced, and acted so well it brought me into the beauty of the story's world.
  • I heard my pastor speak about her experience as a woman in a male-dominated career. She reminded me that God's Grace isn't always pretty, especially when confronting systemic problems, but we can still rely on it to help us through.
  • I read about a local Search and Rescue team made of community volunteers who literally saved the lives of a young boy and his father who were lost in the mountains in the freezing temperatures. This glimpse of beauty was truly a doorway where Heaven and Earth met.


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