‘We’re all strangers connected by what we reveal, what we share, what we take away – our stories. I guess that’s what I love about books – they are thin strands of humanity that tether us to one another for a small bit of time, that make us feel less alone or even more comfortable with our aloneness, if need be.’
– Libba Bray
I found myself scanning the shelves for Christopher Paolini’s Aragon. It came highly recommended by a 12-year old and I wanted to know why he found the series so enchanting. The night before, we were seated together during dinner and began a delightful conversation about Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and the wonders of dragons.
‘Don’t you feel like you’re missing out with the rest?’ I asked him, motioning to the other kids who were playing a card game.
‘But you’re still here…’ I said.
‘Yeah. But this conversation is interesting.’ He replied.
And so it was. I found his views on his world of imagination thoroughly inspiring, which was probably why I was standing there in the Teens Fiction aisle today, checking out books I otherwise would have ignored.
‘My greatest fear is to be lazy,’ 16-year old Jojo said to me. ‘I know I have a good mind but that’s also why I get lazy and neglect studying. I’d rather spend the entire day in bed, dreaming and creating stories in my head.’
‘What stories do you think of?’ I asked. My interest was piqued. I had originally promised to take this boy to a youth meeting (which he otherwise wouldn’t have attended) and in the beginning, talking to him was akin to chipping a wall with a toothpick. There was no letting up. Until we began sharing our stories and passions.
‘I love Star Wars and my lego collection. Usually, I think up of my favourite storylines and how I can recapture all that in lego building.’
Jojo has a collection of over 500 Star Wars lego pictures in his iPhone and began showing them to me. Listening to him grow excited over the intricacies of his passion, I began to see the boy as he was.
‘Why didn’t you join the youth group years ago?’ I asked him again. Last week, I’d asked the exact same question and the only reply I received was that he didn’t know. Today, he finally opened up.
‘They didn’t like me. It was boring.’ He said.
‘Will you try again though? Go with me to the next meeting?’ I asked somewhat tentatively.
He looked at me and shrugged.
‘Sure, why not?’
A tiny shaft of light shone through the wall where it finally caved in. It was the most beautiful sliver of illumination.
Born fresh into this world, we are without walls, borders or sensitivities to the human race. Each year, a new layer of bricks is laid – some built faster, others slower – and while it serves to protect what’s within, it keeps out the ones who can enter in and make an impact. The special ones who’ll help water the gardens we keep. The ones who will share in the fascination of every flower born and help pull out the weeds. The ones… who will hold our hands and walk with us, through its paths.
Walls. And their breaking.
What happens to us when we stand without our walls? Can we still survive?
‘I wondered which was harder, in the end. The act of telling, or who you told it to. Or maybe if, when you finally got it out, the story was really all that mattered.’
– Sarah Dessen
We are all stories, woven together, bound and waiting for someone who will take the time to read it with respect and love.
I began thinking about the greatest book ever written – the bible.
It caused the Author to bleed.
It reveals His heart, which He did with no fear of rejection.
It lies on my table – the very description of His person.
And like I do with every book, I tenderly hold it in my hands and today, began to read it with fresh eyes. Why did I still come to it with a sense of religiosity, as though it would be too hard for me to understand? Wasn’t it merely a note from Heaven? Wasn’t it like a blog written by a dear and close friend?
Wasn’t it written, dedicated to… me?
Stories. That’s why I love them so dearly. They connect me with another person who in turns, impacts my life and causes me to feel less alone in this world I walk in.