I've fallen in love with Henri, and I can't get enough. I'm spellbound, and I can't wait to see what he'll say next. Last Spring, it was Wendell. I fell for him in our first few minutes together as his words wooed me with their unbelievable beauty. Last year, it was Dan. Before him, John.
Authors ensnare me with their gift for expression. A beautifully-written story wakes something inside me and stirs me in a way unlike anything else. When the writer communicates the heart of a character or the weight of a choice, circumstance, or relationship in perfectly sculpted words, I am undone. Books invite me to think or rethink, to ache or to laugh, to consider their story and to write my own. I find myself reading and re-reading sentences for their sheer beauty (and then torturing Tim by reading them aloud to him).
Author Donald Miller writes, "...something important happened to me when I read Emily Dickinson. I fell in love with books. [For me, it was Kate Chopin.] Some people find beauty in music, some in painting, and some in landscape, but I find it in words. By beauty, I mean the feeling you have suddenly glimpsed another world, or looked into a portal that reveals a kind of magic or romance out of which the world has been constructed, a feeling there is something more than the mundane, and a reason for our plodding. The portal is different for everyone."
I share this affection with Miller, as books offer a powerful invitation - to see, to discover, to examine, to yearn, to admire, and to aspire. After Wendell and Henri, I know there will be others. I'm not fickle, however, for our love affair will continue. I will find myself at my favorite used bookstore, searching the shelves for titles I may have missed. And when I find that elusive, well-worn volume, my heart will race and I will be giddy like someone who has just received a love letter.
I invite you to fall in love with reading, and in particular with the authors I mentioned: Henri Nouwen, Wendell Berry, Dan Allender, John Eldredge, and Donald Miller. May their words offer you beauty and invite you into a new world.