This past weekend, while looking for some info I needed for some forms I have to fill out, I found the 2000 calendar (a Day-Timer…does anybody still use those?) my husband was using during the last months of his life. It had the sermon titles and scripture readings he gave at our church, counseling and administrative appointments he had at church, to do lists- even ordinary things like picking up milk on the way home, our dates for coffee, lunch with friends, taking our daughter for ice cream and our son to karate, and amazingly- notes about a trip to the interior of Peru with a military medical team as US Embassy chaplain, and, sadly, radiation treatment appointments.
And on a page at the beginning of each month, a list. Books he read that month just for pleasure. He was reading five books a month, until the last month, when there was one. He always was a reader. He took a book wherever he went, usually a paperback tucked into a canvas book cover also stuffed with notes and receipts. Coming across those lists was a sweet moment that stirred good memories- times when we spent time reading “together”- each of us lost in our own books, but sitting companionably close, sometimes sharing a good line or two.
They were personal memories, but also brought on more general thoughts. About how much reading adds to life. What it means to really be a reader. How sad that some people just don’t get it. How can they say they don’t have time to read? That’s like saying you don’t have time to breathe. And I reflected on why I share books (and anything) I read as enthusiastically as I can with whoever I can.
I hope someone stumbles on one of my book lists someday. And smiles at the memory of my reading.