There is something special about physical, tangible books. I love them. I love to hold them in my hands, flip the pages, mark the pages, and see the artwork on the cover. There is something about my being that loves paper and pen. Writing notes, greeting cards, and writing in my journal are like air and water to me. I once tried reading via Kindle because someone in my life was encouraging me to try it out. It was incredibly short lived. I’ve attempted to read a few eBooks on my computer and attempted also on my phone. It’s just not the same experience and had me less than engaged or enthused. Yes, I understand the irony, considering I happen to be writing to you via a blog – no paper involved. Hopefully someday I will have physical product for you to get your hands on.
There is also something else about a physical, tangible book that I only recently have given myself the liberty to take advantage of. For some reason for years and years, I never felt like I should mark up the pages of my books. I held myself back from making notes and underlining or highlighting. Instead what I would do is keep a separate quote journal where I would copy bits and pieces that I liked all into this one journal. Then one day I decided that process was silly – because, let’s face it, what a waste of time and energy that was.
I guess somewhere inside of me I was restricting myself from marking up my books because I didn’t want to ‘ruin’ them. Perhaps someone else would read my copy of the book and my notes would inhibit their reading or worse, they might catch a glimpse into my soul through my notes and I would be exposed unintentionally. Maybe I felt if I marked up my books I’d never have an opportunity to sell them if I so chose. So I held myself back. In retrospect, I can see that a part of me was dying to highlight and underline and pour my heart out onto those pages that fed my soul. I yearned for it, but simply would not allow myself.
Until one day, I simply thought to myself, ‘who cares?’ Who cares if I mark up my books? Who cares if I won’t be able to sell them some day? Who cares if someone else someday catches a glimpse of my thoughts hurled onto the pages of my collection of books?
Who really cares?
In the questioning came freedom. In the questioning I realized I was the only one holding myself back and for no good reason really. So often we are saving things in our lives for an opportune moment or a better occasion. We buy the fine china and never use it. We buy antique cars and never drive them. We buy fancy dresses and let them hang in our closet forever. Why?
I want to enjoy life and all the little things along the way. Every day, every moment is a once in a lifetime moment and I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to live in that moment fully, to experience everything it has to offer.
And so I began writing in my books, including my Bible.
I almost always use a red pen to underline things that move me and I make notes in the margins. I journal with a red pen too. I want my books to show where I have been. I want to leave a piece of my story behind as though I was some sort of collaborator to the story someone else had written. I want there to be record of my thoughts and how the beautifully crafted sentences on each page struck my heart in the moment my mind could comprehend them. I want to savor every bit.
I want you to savor every bit of your life too. So make notes in your books, underline, and sketch. Wear your fancy dress, use your fine china, drive your antique car every now and then. Savor each moment of your life, you only have one chance. Give yourself permission.