The transporting wonder

Despite a devastating diganosis and a grim prognosis, some things remained. Jeff and Matt reading, November 2012

Despite a devastating diganosis and a grim prognosis, some things remain untouchable.
Jeff and Matt reading, November 2012

“Those of us who know the transporting wonder of a reading life know that…when we read, we are always inside, sheltered in that interior room, that clean, well-lighted, timeless place that is the written word.”Alice McDermott

All of my life, reading has been a shelter for me, and never more so than in the past three years. In the roller-coaster sequence of events fraught with emotional highs and lows, I’ve depended on having that cozy, well-lighted, dependable world awaiting me.

Reading calms my soul when I’m too exited or agitated, and it comforts me when I’m lonely or sad.  Through books, letters, and now blogs, I can play host to people long passed from this life, or visit with others whom I’ve never met except through published words.  When a rainy day keeps me indoors and deprives me of the sunshine I crave, what might be a gloomy spell is instantly transformed into cozy contentment with a book and a cup of tea.  When I’m tossing and turning in the frustration of insomnia, a book (especially a scholarly or devotional work such as the Bible) can lull me back to sleep, or at least provide company.

Whether you are battening down the hatches for another winter, or preparing for the heat of summer soon to come, I hope you will stay in touch with fictional friends and narrative neighbors who will be ready for you when you need them most.  And may you draw wisdom, consolation and refreshment from holy scriptures, classic poems and other timeless works that have survived for centuries to remind us we are never alone.

Settle down for a nice chat with C. S. Lewis, or whisk away to enchanted worlds with Harry Potter and his friends. Make a friendly visit to a charming town such as Mitford, or travel backward or forward through time with any number of imaginative guides.   Explore Ireland with Maeve Binchy, or go to India with Jhumpa Lahiri, or savor the warmth of Botswana with Alexander McCall Smith.  The transporting wonder of a reading life is ours to enjoy! And it’s available free, or at very little cost — how fabulous is that?  Where will you spend time today?

This post was first published seven years ago today. In the six years since Jeff’s death, I have depended on books more than ever. I thank God daily that I am able to visit with so many souls, thousands of miles away or long departed, through the amazing gift of the written word. I hope you will not leave this beautiful gift unopened in your own life.

The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Thank you, Ms. Julia! … God Bless, Ben Dichoso Jr.

    • You’re welcome, Ben! It’s always a joy to see you here…or in “real life” too!

  2. Chris

    Yes, Julia, you are so right. For I have been to 1000’s of places, met 1000’s of people, and traveled thru time!! ….. vicariously, of course, from my couch.

    Do you remember the TV commercials for As a child, I remember these, and the mantra that ‘reading is fundamental’. Not sure what things they did, or do, but enjoyed the TV jingles so much that the memory has stayed with me, all this time. Needless to say, reading is so important in development.

    So, how are you and Matt? Keeping you in prayers.


    • Chris, I haven’t watched television for over 30 years now, so I am totally out of the loop on anything having to do with commercials. So many conversations revolve around them that I’m often totally clueless when people start discussing them. I do remember the RIF campaign, though, and applaud its message. I was totally unaware they had a jingle…I’ll have to look it up (at the risk of having it become a permanent earworm in my brain!) 🙂 Thanks so much for your prayers. We always need them. Matthew and I are both doing pretty well. Some days are much easier than others, of course, which is universal.

  3. Judy

    A friend gave my husband a book, The Walk, by Richard Paul Evans. He enjoyed it and passed it on to me. What a fascinating piece of skillful writing! We loved it and want to continue reading the series.

    I’m also involved with a group that is doing the wonderful book, God Was With Me All Along, by Mary Lou Redding. She was the editor of The Upper Room for at least 30 years. She leads you into a skillfully guided journal that you fill out yourself. This helps you bring areas of your past back up for reflection so that you can see how God has lovingly reached out to you. It also makes you realize how God involves you in contributing to His work in the world. We’re all finding it to be a wonderful experience and a way to appreciate our own unique walks in life and to share those with one another. Another group I’m in is planning to do the book soon.

    Have you come across either of these books, Julia?
    (by the way, for some reason this silly ole WordPress format won’t let me do underlining!)

    • Hi Judy, I took the liberty of putting your titles in italics, since I assume that was what you wanted to underline. I don’t know why it doesn’t allow the author of comments to do that. I have never heard of either book, but both sound interesting. I’m probably rare in that I have not read much of anything by Richrd Paul Evans. I know he is enormously popular. Thanks for sharing these titles with me, and with others who read the blog comments!

  4. In my youth I was neither a reader nor writer. I followed the mantra of “get more out of life, go to a movie”. How much I missed only now do I understand. To finish a page in a book or putting the period at the end of a written sentence brings one to an end of some doing. And we are made by God not to be idle but be active as the goal seeking creatures we are. That finished page or completed sentence is a symbol of accomplishment.

    A book can take us anywhere in the world or to the deepest recesses of our hearts. In writing we express our thoughts and inner doctrine. In doing so we elevate our minds and illuminate our souls. And in our suffering, each is cathartic, which, in healing, will return us to the path toward joy.

    • Alan, you have made some great points about reading and writing. It does require far more participation than watching a screen. And I’ve discovered, both in books and here on the blog, that one can connect to others (even those long dead) more deeply than in many superficial social situations. I’m so grateful for the ability to read, and thankful that when I write, there are those who will read what I say.

      I hope you are enjoying a peaceful holiday season in “the quiet corner.” I haven’t started my Christmas cards yet, but I look forward to doing this as yet another way to practice the joy and discipline of writing.

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