through the words of a book

Has anyone read (or listened to) “Furiously Happy” since I wrote about it? I sincerely hope so. It’s truly delightful. To reiterate from Jenny Lawson herself:

“I’m fucking done with sadness, and I don’t know what’s up the ass of the universe lately but I’ve HAD IT. I AM GOING TO BE FURIOUSLY HAPPY, OUT OF SHEER SPITE. … I’m going to destroy the goddamn universe with my irrational joy…”

Sometimes, it’s hard to make life “furiously happy” though, right? Sometimes it’s easier to melt into the pages and journeys of someone else’s life. Sometimes, skulking through the chamber of secrets, averting your eyes as you go to avoid the basilisk, as the panic pulses through your veins, is much better than being “furiously happy” in your own life, because you have melted into someone else’s journey — through the words of a book.

I love literature. I love books. My undergrad at Calvin was partially an English degree (Interdisciplinary Science with a double focus in English and Psychology, to be specific).

As Mark Twain is famously quoted as saying, “I have been through some terrible things in my life; some of which actually happened.” I love this quote. It was shared at church today in reference to how we get in our own heads and worry.  I am the queen of getting in my head. Just this past weekend, when out with friends, I had to escape to a public bathroom and google quick meditative techniques. I found two which I think I will use for the rest of my days (yes, they’re that good).

1) Pretend like you’re watching yourself on TV. The article that described this technique did so in much more flowery and descriptive language with great reasoning as to why and how you step outside of your perspective and become instantly calm, etc..etc…and honestly — at that moment — I didn’t care why it worked. All I knew was that I was anxious, irritated, and having a crap-night. And watching myself on TV through a fictitious screen, worked. Plus, it was kinda fun.

2) Take a slow breath. This one sounds super typical & ho-hum average. On the breath in, you say to yourself, “I am.” On the breath out, you say to yourself, “at peace.” Again, complete with great explanations. I also switched out the wordings. Not gonna lie — I was a tiny bit upset with my man, so I said “I am” — “in love” while I held his hand. It actually worked like a charm. What I said was true, but sometimes when you get frustrated with someone, it’s easy to remain frustrated and forget the bigger picture of life and your relationship.

Anyway — back on track #rabbittrails Our pastor did an excellent job of using Paul’s words in Philippians to talk about choosing joy over worry, and choosing joy in our Lord. I am of the firm belief that God also gave us literature and words to bring us joy. And wowzer — do words bring me joy!

I have always been an avid book worm. I was in the Boxcar Children book club and would have three books delivered monthly. They’d be devoured within hours. But I did get a neat cardboard caboose to store the first twelve or so books in. I have been on many adventures with Nancy Drew and solved many a mystery with her as well.

this is not mine…mine must be packed away at my parents’ house somewhere..

My parents have always told me they struggled with the whole “lights off” concept when I was a youngster. They hated scolding me and requiring me to turn off the lights because I wasn’t up late doing naughty things — I was up late adventuring in the pages of a good book. I would sneak my nightlight under the covers and keep on reading. They always knew.

When “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” came out, my life was forever changed. Literature has been and always will be a driving and life-giving force in my life. Whether it be fictional tales, life-giving advice works, words of encouragement pieces, or educational tools for work — literature courses through me. It’s the best anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, and mood-stabilizer on the market, hands down.

So stay tuned for the next post in which I share John & my 100 book reading list! 😉 I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!


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