Open a book that's yellowing around the edges and your first responsibility is to swoop your nose, be it button, Roman, or whatever variety you fortunately possess, directly into the spine and have a deep, olfactory drink from the fount where the beaded bubbles of blushful Hippocrene ever overflow.
I love books. Too much, in fact, to slip in a snarky comment about Kindles or Nooks. It would detract from the glory of mystery and that overwhelming reverence one has as the slightly tattered (or well-cared for) cover lifts off the first page and those first sentences sink in. What sort of characters are about to parade into your life, well, only continued perusal will tell, but they might just be the ones that change your life. It only takes a whisper, you know. Butterfly effect breath effortlessly taking flight from ink and old paper to alight in a rapturously attuned ear... Strange, how struggles not our own can inspire us to overcome real hurdles, how romance can carry off our fancy and yet also clear a foggy perspective.
Sometime I feel a little bit like I might be a failure. I know it's a little bit early to be passing such a sweeping judgment over what shall very likely only be but a small segment of a much longer life story. I was the kid who was homeschooled, so of course I was socially awkward and unconsciously intelligent. Meaning that I did not exactly measure up if my intention was to be friends with everyone and caring about what other people cared about. I did everything I wanted to coming out of high school. There was travel, two years studying what I wanted to study, work at a cafe, establish close friendships and future educational ties... All kinds of glorious shiftlessness. Even, for however brief a time, delightful possibilities. But here I am, trying to be adult and going to college now because otherwise I probably never would, and all of the fun seems like foolishness and frivolity. But as I read all that, I can't make myself feel like a failure. I don't have a job right now, and that's tough because it's not for lack of trying - I even wrote my first resume with no encouraging success to show for it. I'm going to community college instead of a 4 year, Great Books program on the other side of the country or at least a couple states away. But I can't measure my life in bullet points. Maybe life is more like a dart board, and sure, the target area might be small, but there's more than one spot that you can hit and still be in the bull's eye.
I'm incredibly optimistic right now because I've just read the first four chapters of G.K. Chesterton's biography and I feel like we have a few things in common. Namely, this particular period in life. I have no idea what I will do in the future in terms of real, concrete actions, but it's hardly fair for me to assume that because I feel like I'm doing everything backward, upside down, and inside out, I'm not still hurtling along with the right momentum in the right direction with the occasional navigational nudge from my Daddy.
I like biographies. I like to think that maybe someday mine will be worth reading by someone else and maybe that someone will get a little more hope than they had before.
Lives of great men all remind us,
We can make our lives sublime.
And, departing, leave behind us,
Footprints in the sands of time...