Thursday, December 23, 2010

Good for the soul

Somewhere out there is that "better person" I've been trying to be for about 30 years now. There are some lines of thinking that say the better person is actually inside of me and I just need to find it. Either way, there's looking and finding involved.

I am a believer in fiction. Good fiction can teach us much about ourselves and the human condition. As an undergraduate, I majored in English (mainly Literature) and minored in Psychology. Many people found that to be an odd combination, but I thought it was a perfect fit. Psychology is the study of why we do what we do and and Literature is one of many creative expressions of just what it is that humans have done throughout the years. The power of story cannot be underestimated.

However, non-fiction is also a treasure. Through the printed word, we are able to learn from another's experience and expertise. I spent years of my life overdosing on non-fiction. How-to-be-a-better-wife-mother-daughter-friend-housekeeper-cook-studentoftheword-homeschooler books reigned in my reading life. I thought there had to be a system out there that I could learn that would master all of my life glitches. Somehow, there must some missing piece of information that I was missing that would solve the problems.

I don't think that anymore.

I think we live in a flawed world and we are flawed people and sometimes the problems just don't go away. And that's OK because God still loves us and still forgives us and comes and lives in our midst even when we aren't perfect.

It's OK to be flawed.

The non-fiction I read now doesn't have the same tone as what I was reading during my quest for perfection. Here's what's on my life for this break. By the way, if I don't make it through my whole list, it'll be OK. I'll just chalk it up to the fact that I'm a flawed human being who doesn't always get everything done.
  • Women, Food, and God by Geneen Roth : Yes, it's been over there in my sidebar as "What I'm Reading," for about 3 months, but all that means is that I picked it up and read 10 pages right before school started. Remember yesterday's confession? Once the semester starts, I read almost nothing. Sad, but true. Anyway, this is a re-read of a book that struck me in a profound way the first time I read it. I felt like I had read some new truth that I somehow already knew. Life has a way of making us forget, though, so I want to let this book wash over me again.
  • Touching Wonder by John Blase : My friend Lindsay (also a librarian) recommended this book to me because I was struggling with feeling Christmasy. It's not a book to read through quickly. It's a book to take in small doses and ponder. I love letting Blase's thoughts and questions about the incarnation make their way into my tired brain.
  • Thin Within by Judy and Arthur Halliday : I have reasons for needing this book, but I'm also kind of scared of it. It won't be a sit-down-and-read-through book. It's a one-day-at-a-time-and-really-spend-some-time-with-it book. I'll start it the week my sweet kiddoes go back to school so that I have some time with it before I go back to work. I'm tired of my life being about food, but neither do I want it be about not being about food. Yes, I know that probably made no sense. There's not an easy way to say what I'm saying.
Other than what we're reading aloud -- Voyage of the Dawn Treader-- that's my reading list for this break. What's yours?

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