You know those books that you read and made you think differently about the world, or at least about how you put yourself in the story of life? There are a few that I simply must always have in my library, often multiple copies. Sometimes I just need to give someone a copy because I know its the book for them at that moment in their life. This is not to say that these are a list of books that I love, because that list would be EXTENSIVE. This is a list of the books that literally (and using that word right now feels so good)… literally made me stop in my tracks and activate. I remember the first time I read them. I remember how I felt and what was happening in my life and why it mattered and why is still matters.
I would take a photo of my own books but since we are in transition and most of our belongings are packed in boxes, google had to help with those visuals.
1. A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken - This is a story of love. If you want to know what true true passionate sacrificial almost too much love looks like, read this book. When I get my tattoo… one day… when I am no longer full of terror, it will be a drawing from this book. I have read it, Dan has read it, and we have read it together, taking notes and making commitments. “If one of us likes anything, there must be something to like in it — and the other one must find it. Every single thing that either of us likes. That way we shall create a thousand strands, great and small, that will link us together. Then we shall be so close that it would be impossible — unthinkable — for either of us to suppose that we could ever recreate such closeness with anyone else. And our trust in each other will not only be based on love and loyalty but on the fact of a thousand sharings — a thousand strands twisted into something unbreakable.”
2. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran - The first time I read this book, it was early in the morning my freshman year in college, and I kid you not, I missed my mid-term because I could not stop reading it. I went to my professor afterwards, knowing that I had completely screwed up and I told him the truth of what happened. I dont know what he thought, but he let me take the mid-term in his office and I passed his class. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever read in my life. “And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair”
3. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom - A heart of Christ. This book breaks my heart over and over again, while constantly reminding me of God’s love and how he cares for his people. I am convicted and humbled with every word. Read this book and start to thank God for the “bugs” in your life. “No pit is so deep that God is not deeper still”
4. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert - I know its ridiculously popular. I don’t even care at all. I love the entire thing from cover to cover. Whenever I feel like the world is holding me captive and my dreams are not reachable, I think about this book and how she broke free and found herself. It is one of the pillars of who I am; a woman in search of herself. I believe that in finding myself, I will see the depth of God’s love and him as a father, and in doing so I can live in the path that he has carved for me. That is nothing if not outside the constraints of the every day. I want to live outside in most interpretations of the word. Elizabeth Gilbert reminded me of that. “In the end, I’ve come to believe in something I call “The Physics of the Quest.” A force in nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity. The rule of Quest Physics goes something like this: If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.”
5. A Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins - This is a story of a man who complained and whined but was humble enough to listen when someone told him that he should learn a bit more before he really complained about things. He was aggrivated with America, but a friend told him that he didn’t know America, having spent his whole life in Connecticut. So… he walked across America. It’s a story of adventure but also of humility. It reminds me that life is worth discovering and to know that there is always more to learn. Don’t assume you understand someone or a place ever. And Lastly, it reminds me to take my time and look at this very day instead of the ones that may come. “Mileage craziness is a serious condition that exists in many forms. It can hit unsuspecting travelers while driving cars, motorcycles, riding in planes, crossing the country on bicycles or on foot. The symptoms may lead to obsessively placing more importance on how many miles are traveled than on the real reason for the traveling…On foot, in a van, on a fleet motorcycle or on a bicycle, a person must be very careful not to become overly concerned with arriving.”