Reading gives me life. Every time I read, I want to keep reading and keep reading. I feel an urge to hurry and finish one book so I can start on another. Though my excitement for reading is so strong, I find myself in a pattern of mindless activities. I love a good sitcom. LOVE a good sitcom. For a certain period of time, I find rest in my trusty sitcom (that I might be watching through for the 6th time..) At times, it is a great way to unwind and relax from a busy, stressful day. For about 21 minutes, I have nothing in this whole world to do except to giggle at what some of my favorite characters are getting into today (again, even though I have seen this episode at least 5 other times). Even though this habit at times is therapeutic, there comes a time when it becomes more of a crutch. It keeps me from thinking about my responsibilities and doing my dishes and cleaning out my precious kitty’s litter box. When I am itching for some entertainments or a good story, I turn my show on. When I just do not want to deal with a problem anymore, I turn my show on. I turn it on, not to escape from reality specifically, but to turn my brain off. Through this incredibly easy and non-productive “escape”, my love for reading fades and is absolutely overpowered because “watching this show is just easier, ok?” And it is.
Reading requires a completely different set of “skills” (if you will) and focus. Reading requires me to think and imagine, not just stare at a screen, laugh every few minutes, and leave unchanged. After walking away from a few too many episodes of my sitcom, I begin to feel almost like a mindless, impressionable, non-contributing member of society. But then I read. In reading, I use my mind to process the beauty of written word. I open myself to so much truth and wonder and do not even scratch the surface of what this big, beautiful world has to offer. In reading, I welcome teaching and challenging into my life. I think of things beyond myself and I am never more truly “Casi” than that.
This whole thought process came about when my husband and I were talking about youth groups and what we learned about or would have wanted to learn about. I thought of Narnia. I really do not know what high school Casi would have thought of The Chronicles of Narnia books, but I sure wish she would have read them sooner than college Casi. I think of what C.S. Lewis wrote in the dedication of his first Chronicles of Narnia book, “Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” Boy, do I wish my hiatus from fairytales was a little bit shorter because that stuff is gold.
I don’t know if this will last forever, but right now, taking part in something I absolutely love is going to take discipline. It almost doesn’t make sense; discipline to take part in something I love? Weird. But as I choose reading and the use of my mind to unveil the beauty and wonder of this incredibly created world, it becomes less of something I have to encourage myself to do, and more of something that I desire and can’t imagine not doing. I can, and regularly do, walk away from Netflix regretting how much time I spent robotically ingesting everything it threw at me, but I honestly have never once regretted spending my time immersing my mind into beautiful literature.
Also, I am extremely particular about the amount of sleep I get every night and here I am awake, the night before my first day of my senior year, reading and writing and not regretting it one bit.