Anne Lamott talked about reading as a child: “We found in books the divine plop, the joy of settling down deeply into something, worlds and realities greater than our own troubled minds.” I like that ‘divine plop’. The new electronic book section of Barnes & Noble is cozily called the ‘Nook.’ Many of us like to plop down with a good book. It takes us out of ourselves and helps us see the world through others’ eyes. It can even deeply connect us to God.
A young woman I knew who was paralyzed loved to read and she said, “I believe there would be world peace if everyone read fiction, because it opens us to others’ worldview.”
Flannery O’Connor, a famous southern novelist, wrote a prayer journal in the 1940’s as she began writing. She wanted her words to speak of the deep and very human experiences of our souls. She wanted those words to honor God. She felt God gave her words that were beyond her. She said,
“Dear God, tonight it is not disappointing because you have given me a story. Don’t ever let me think dear God that I was anything but the instrument for Your story- just like the typewriter was for mine.” And “Dear Lord, please help me to be an artist and please let it lead to you.”
I once asked a monk who has written a great deal about meditative writing.
I asked, “Is everyone a writer?”
“I don’t know. But I do know everyone has a story.”
Our life is a story. As young people begin to write their own story let us be in prayer for them.
I hope this month we will find the joy of the divine plop as we find a nook where we can sit and read and encounter the living God. If you aren’t one to read, find a time to hear someone’s story.