Old favorites are generally restful to me as well. I love new books, but all, even the good ones, are tiring to me. The bad ones are tiring just because they are such a chore to get through...each page read with an energetic hope that it will get better, that there will be something redemptive and worth the effort. The good ones are tiring because I have yet to learn how to pace myself. When I really like a book, I read it voraciously, greedily taking in every word, staying up until my eyes burn with weariness. It is, oh so worth it, but tiring nonetheless.
So, an old book is pulled out every now and then. It's a bit of a break. I know how it ends already. I anticipate certain parts with full knowledge of how they turn out. There's no wondering, no waiting, no hurry. Just an enjoyable kind of knowing.
I've been re-reading The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells. What a great book. I first read it a few years ago and it made such an impression on me. There is so much in it about the deep desires of our hearts. Our desires for connection, to be known, to be loved unconditionally, to understand why we are the way we are, and to live out of a place that is alive to all of those things.
I can remember copying page after page of this book, highlighting the passages, and pasting them into my journal. "This is how I feel, " I would write. And I did. And some of it still rings true today. Here is a particularly significant passage:
So, for now, I'm curling up with my old friends, the Ya-Ya's. And it's good getting reaquainted.
What is my civil war about? Is it the fear of being held in familiar love
versus the fear of running through the fog, searching for love? Each holds its
own terrors, extracts its own pound of flesh.
Flesh. Now we draw closer. The question is: can I love Connor, who will die someday, any day, the smell of his shoulders becoming only a memory? Can I soften to love, with full knowledge of the suffering I welcome in? Thomas Merton said the love we most cherish will, of necessity, bring us pain. Because that love is like the setting of a body with broken bones.
But I want to stage the setting; I want to direct all the scenes.
Who are your old friends, fellow readers?
P.S. Yes, they made a movie out of this book...the book is better.