Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Library

After I graduated from college I lived with a mentor who specialized in helping post college transitions. After a few weeks of observation, she decided to go with the theme of acheiving balance to help me adjust. After a few more weeks, she helped me discover that I had no life outside of work and ministry on campus. She asked me to find a hobby. I was in shock, I had no idea that I had become boring. I also had become insulated from the outside world.

Usually, hobbies equal money and I had none. So, I decided to make reading my hobby and I got a library card at the local public library. That was 23 years ago, and ever since then, whenever I move to a new community (which has been often) one of the first things I do is get a library card. But to get back to reading for pleasure was life-changing for me. It opened up a whole new world.

The first books I checked out were novels I read in junior high school but I felt warranted a re-read. One was "The Grapes of Wrath" by Steinbeck and "The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck. Not long after I finished them, my mentor and I were invited to dinner at our landlord's home. Our landlord was a retired professor and was very accomplished and a world traveler. His wife was one of my favorite people, intelligent and gracious.

I can't remember how it started, but a discussion of current events allowed me to bring up some thoughts from the books I had just finished. I do remember having the professor and his wife's complete attention, as well as a satisfying discussion not just about literature but also the problems in the world like poverty. To be able to converse on this level with a professor and be interesting as well as interested was an amazing development for me. It showed me that one can be educated, but you have to keep disciplining yourself to be a lifelong learner. And you have something to say.

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