This morning was my morning to sleep in. The kids are out of school for Thanksgiving and had celebrated with a slumber party in the living room. My husband, for some inexplicable reason, decided to get up at his usual time of 5:30. Shortly after he left the bed I heard the vacation morning cartoons start.
I reached up, turned on my light and grabbed the next book on my “To read” pile.
The Giver by Lois Lowry.
I’ve never read it before. Somehow I missed it when I was the age it was intended for. But since the final book in the series has just been published, it is all over my radar and then, two days ago a good friend passed down his son’s book collection to us and there it was, right on top, like a cosmic gift.
It’s been a while since I have gotten to “cheat the day” by spending my morning lounging in bed with a book and no interruptions. Even on weekends, my mornings are usually a hectic blur of feeding people, cajoling kids into clothes, getting teeth brushed and planning the day.
But today already felt like a stolen day – here it is Tuesday morning and I’m ditching work. I’m home with the kids, who are very much on vacation. I’m logged off facebook and my phone is turned off. I am unplugged.
So, I dove into this book – this wonderful dystopian novel that has been flickering at my periphery for some months now.
And while I haven’t finished the book, so I’ll refrain from reviewing it yet – what I will comment on is the change in perception it has already granted me. This change, is the reason I fell in love with books and reading. Yes, because they take me to another world, another time, another place and immerse me in another culture and let me see the world through other eyes, yes, that.
But also, because when I come up for air, emerging from these other worlds, I see my own with fresh eyes.
Today, I noticed color. As I walked up the stairs from my dim bedroom into the kitchen, I noticed all the bright, sunlit splashes of color that I take so for granted during my day-to-day.
And it made me reflect back on another novel that I have loved – and one of the things that always niggled at me about it, but which I never had words for until this moment – Atlas Shrugged. I realize now, looking back with these fresh eyes, that for all the triumph it purported to display and discuss – the world of that book was grey, and dark and bland. With rare exception – the fires of Rearden Steel and the blue-green of Rearden Metal. All else was shades of grey – steel and stone and skies and clothes.
I remember, now, the feeling of triumph I got after reading that book – the triumph of color, of light. The grey struggles of that book made my own struggles seem so much easier, because at least I wasn’t trapped in a cold grey world, trying to bring light to my days. I had light, I just had to decide what to do with it.
Likewise, The Giver has reminded me what a blessing sight is, and choices, and yes, even pain – that bright red flash of pain that flickers at the edge of vision, reminding us that we are truly ALIVE. And on a bright sunny fall day like today, begun in bliss, it is a reminder to take time to enjoy the simple pleasures and to not worry so much about all the little stuff. And it’s all little stuff.
Wishing you all many blessings this holiday season.