Rediscovering Reading

With the state of my clavicle, my options for how I spend my free time are rather limited. I started to play World of Warcraft last night but realized it would keep me up too late, and I desperately need my rest while healing. I can’t get heavy dishes down from tall shelves, nor can I mow the lawn or clean with the exuberance I once did. Instead, I am spending most of my time sunk into the SumoSac, reading.

I haven’t read much in the last couple of years due to my rather busy schedule coupled with my pursuit of other past times. Between work and school, I’m pretty busy during the semester, and I’ve been trying to go to the gym, and trying to spend time with my wife, and trying to keep housework under control, etc. The kid who used to read 200-300+ books a year is long gone, his time filled to the brim with other activities.

The last few weeks though, I’ve been rediscovering the nature of reading. This has had two interesting affects on me.

First, I’m learning new things, which is always fun. April has me reading a lot of Diana Wynn Jones, who has a very different writing style from me, and especially the latest book I’m reading from her is quite intriguing. She almost completely ignores description, be they of setting, scenery, or characters, instead relying on plot and what the characters say to give you an idea. She uses very basic colours, images, and shape, and lets the dialogue and internal monologue drive your imagination. It’s a concept I’m excited to learn more about, but without sitting down and reading other authors, it wouldn’t happen.

Second, it really seems to slow down the passage of time for me. Before my accident, it seemed like every day, week, and month flew by. Weekends rushed up and shot by, months flew off the calendar, and every day passed quickly. Since I began spending my evenings just sitting and reading, every day seems to take forever to go… but not in a monotonous, dull way. I’m still fairly busy at work and I’m not bored, but I find myself thinking, “My goodness, it’s only Tuesday…” Two days seem to take the same amount of time as an entire week did before, and I attribute this perceived slowness to my attention.

By slowing down, reading, thinking more, and examining the world around me more due to my surplus of free time, things aren’t going by so quickly. I’m not skimming the surface of life as much, but instead resting and really taking things in. April feels like our communication has improved, and I’ve likewise begun praying and spending time in God’s presence more. Two hours goes by quickly when I’m making dinner, running to the gym, coming home and showering, and trying to get 20-30 minutes of World of Warcraft in. Two hours is a lot of time to read or pray though, and I subsequently have more time to notice things and just be.

It’s remarkable, and I’m not entirely certain how I feel about it. After I’m healed and able to return to my old schedule, will I? I suspect I probably will, because I prefer to be doing things, instead of having to leave almost all of the housework to April. I want to contribute more. But I somehow need to hold onto the lessons of this break, to slow down more often and not let life rush by. We have so little time on this world, I don’t want it to fly by and never take the time to do more than skim the surface. I want to slow down and learn a little more about… everything.

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