Monday, September 03, 2007

highlighter

I am a reader. From the early days of elementary school when my mom would take me to the great mysterious library until now I have read everything that I can get my hands on. To be fair, I know plenty of people who read more than me, some of them walking through life literally with a book in their hand. But I do read more than the average Joe or Jane.
It’s not just that I read frequently, I just read everything. I read labels, packaging on toilet paper, and every magazine that ever found its way into a waiting room . I've read about hair, health, and homes more times than is probably healthy. I’m always searching for that illustrious bit of trivia that only I would care about. And I do know truckloads of useless trivia, enough to keep my wife campaigning for me to park my butt on a game show. I’m not really tempted though. In all of if I’m still not sure that I’d be smarter than a fifth grader.
A thought ran through my brain last night about my reading patterns. Yesterday was the day that we were able to connect with our history as a family during a outdoor picnic event for us to be able to introduce my daughter in law to our east coast connection. Friends and family, some of whom I haven’t seen since moving west 7 years ago all came by to hang out for awhile. As I shared with some very special connections, both family and friends, it was like picking up and old favorite again to go back through its familiar chapters.
I said I read a lot, but I didn’t say that I was good at it yet. When one reads, especially for information sake, it is a good idea, and actually common sense, to have a highlighter with you as you delve into the pages searching for treasure. A highlighter vividly marks the special place and calls out, “Remember me! I’m that thought you were looking for”. It’s a way to mark your past and to identify that which is most important in your experience with the wisdom in the words. You could at least take notes or something. I seldom do either. As a result, I frequently find myself with bits of information in my brain and not the reference point to go back to. It’s not until I stumble upon the book again, sometimes years later, and recover the lost pages, that I am reivigorated by the truth contained within.
As I said, yesterday was like finding an old favorite and thumbing through the pages. Some of it was as a third person spectator, watching others reconnect who have not connected since the last time that our relationships connected them. Just like my old books, everyone was a bit more worn from time. Some have certainly advanced and the meaning of their relationships enhanced by our experience through the years. Some things have certainly changed, but the treasure was familiar and most certainly there as the pages were turned back.
I find myself at a place in life just as I find my relationship with a favorite book. I hesitate when I read it again. As the pages open and I rediscover the treasure inside that has been hidden by the years, I want to stop and linger. I am tempted to keep reading it over and over. But there are new books calling me. Barnes and Noble have both stayed open late for me to peruse their aisles and experiences. So I tuck the book back on its shelf and anticipate the next time that I’ll get to pull it back out and wander through its pages. In the mean time, a new book is just waiting for me to wade into its introduction. Hopefully this time, I’ll bring the highlighter.

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