I typically have two reading speeds. 0 or 160.
After I read the first chapter of a book, I choose my setting. I either put the book down, never pick it back up, and return it to the library before the due date (which my $10 in late fees should tell you I really didn’t care for that book.)
Or I devour the book in two helpings.
My husband will tell you we had to stop trying to read books “as a couple” because I would speed ahead and finish the book in a day, leaving him in the dust, or I’d completely lose interest and come home with a pile of new library books later that afternoon. (Patience isn’t my best virtue. He’ll tell you that, too.)
After reading the first chapter of Amy Julia Becker’s memoir A Good & Perfect Gift, I had immediately set my cruise control to 200. I’m pretty sure I was late back to work on my lunch break because I couldn’t put the thing down.
But then, as I started to notice that my right hand left clutching only a thin section of pages, I halted to a park, and haven’t gotten back in since. 200 to 0.
I just don’t want it to be over.
I don’t want to finish the book. I don’t want to give it back to the library. So, I’m just not reading it anymore. It’s tucked away, perfectly snug, in my little green bag. I take it with me wherever I go, but it hasn’t been touched in over a week. I only have one renew left until the library will force me to return it. I have to finish it in the next 2 weeks, or else it gets sent back to the other side of the state from where it was sent.
My days are filled reading articles and books that argue back and forth over the harshness of the Church. They are hijacked by regret an hour after sharing a post about the LGBT community and Christianity, as I read the thread of angry comments under the post. They are failed attempts at kindness toward the crummy customers at work. My days are a striving effort to be better, kinder and smarter, to do more and succeed, and say and write and be all the right things at all the right times.
And then there’s this book.
It just had this way of slowing me down.
As Amy Julia Becker describes loving her daughter for everything she is, I can’t help but know and experience the way God loves me for who I am.
As she notes the way her fear and worry over all the things Penny can’t or won’t be able to do begin to dissipate, and her joy over everything Penny is and does and embodies begins to blossom, I feel lighter. I feel better. I feel really, really loved. If parents have the capacity to love their children so thoroughly this way, Our Father in Heaven must be able to love me as perfectly, too.
I guess that explains why I couldn’t put the book down. And why now, I can’t pick it back up. We only get small moments to know, little glimpses to see, just how good the Kingdom is. We only get little tastes of God’s great feast for us. I devoured my latest one in two helpings, and now I don’t want it to end!
Luckily, she wrote a second book.