One of the ways I evaluate how healthy I am is the amount of reading I do.
When I first got out of college and seminary the last thing I wanted to do was to pick up a book. I had been told what to read for the past nine years and I was very comfortable not reading much of anything.
A few years later I re-discovered my love of reading. I started tearing through all kinds of books. A few years later and I became more selective in my reading choices. My focus was on those books which could teach me something to help shape the person I was becoming. Where I once loved a good novel or drama I all but lost interest in those types of books.
Cancer Disrupted My Reading
When I was diagnosed with cancer I lost my ability to read. To be clear, I was still able to read, it just was not as fun or enjoyable as it once had been. What once took me a few hours to read was now taking days, if not weeks. I got out of the habit of reading and my “to read” pile slowly began to grow. I would still identify books I wanted to read, I simply lacked the energy or motivation to turn the pages. My “to read” pile grew to an amazing size.
Over the past six months, I have noticed a change. My ability to read, remember, and enjoy a good book has returned. It is a gift and a sign that I am moving in a much healthier way.
Just last week someone put this book in my hand and said, “you must read this.” I was able to move through it in a couple of afternoons.
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
From the back cover:
Paulo Coelho’s enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and soul-stirring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried near the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles in his path. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.
It has been a few days since I read “The Alchemist” and to be honest I am still struggling to clearly define the experience. On one hand it is a simple story of one man’s quest for buried treasure. While that story is masterfully told there is a deeper, more sacred, story being told if one has the eyes to see it.
In a very real way it speaks of what it means to live out the truths found in the 42 Psalm. Listening to the depth of God calling out to the depths of who we are. Learning to pursue the dreams and visions God places within our hearts leads to adventure and true fulfillment.
If you are looking for a good book to read while on vacation, sitting on the porch, or hiding indoors to escape the heat…this would be well worth the investment.
“The Journey Continues” is my story of learning to fight and then live with stage IV colon cancer. I share openly and honestly how the words spoken by a stranger totally changed life as I knew it, and how Abba Father met me in the midst of the journey. Nancy, my wife, joins me in writing. She shares with great vulnerability of how my cancer challenged her in every area of life. #TJCdn