Humility is throwing oneself away in complete concentration on something or someone else.

Tonight I just feel like writing. The books I am reading make me want to write, to talk about how much I love them. Mike and I were talking about one of them this evening, and I realized, “I sound like myself! I am talking about the things I deeply believe!” Mike, of course, was familiar with the things I was saying, but it felt good to be saying them again. There are a lot of circumstances that have made me rather reticent about talking about some of my beliefs, so it feels like coming home.

So, what are the books I am reading? Let me explain: After I finished a book on Saturday, I kind of randomly (well, Mike finally reading A Wrinkle in Time may have had something to do with it) picked up A Ring of Endless Light (one of my Top Ten Favorites, so you can see I was doing some comfort reading to get over my surgery) and it was the best reading decision I’ve made in weeks. I haven’t been doing much rereading lately, because one of the perils of working in a library is that you’re always wanting to get to the next book on your list, and it had been too long since I thought about Vicky and Adam and Zachary. Too long since I let myself enter Madeleine’s world. Too long since I thought about “Indwelling”. And I realized that I’m going to have to break down and buy another copy, because mine has literally fallen apart. (See also: My copy of Many Waters.) It’s precious to me because it was a gift from my aunt, who introduced me to Madeleine as soon as she could, but mass-market paperbacks aren’t made to last as many rereadings as I’ve given them. So I’ve decided my new project is going to be updating my worn-out copies of Madeleine’s books, which may also mean updating some of the not-so-worn out copies so that they’ll all match. In the past few years, I’ve started realizing that I care more about my books than I used to, and that’s meant having to get new copies of some old worn-out favorites. (See also: To Kill a Mockingbird and The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.)

When I finished it last night, I picked up A Circle of Quiet, which I’ve been reading today on my breaks. The first time I read the Crosswicks journals was the summer I turned 21, the summer I was getting married. I remember reading the first three Crosswicks journals and the Genesis trilogy in the weeks before the wedding, finishing up in the last week or so. I read them sitting in the big chair that’s now downstairs in our house, taking in the words, cherishing the time. Madeleline has so many wise things to say about marriage . . . I know I couldn’t have spent my time any better. And then that Christmas, Mike gave me A Two-Part Invention, which is about her 40-year marriage. He could not have given me anything more perfect for our first married Christmas together. And I think that I read it then for the first time, and I’ve decided to work my way through the journals up to it again.

So, what’s the point of this? Nothing, really, I just love thinking about how, when I read A Ring of Endless Light, I am not only 26-year-old Kari needing something comforting. I’m also 18-year-old Kari reading it in her dorm room (probably needing something comforting) and 14-year-old Kari reading it in the summer sun and 20-year-old Kari reading it in the basement of the aunt who gave it to her to begin with. And when I read A Circle of Quiet, I’m also the Kari who read it five and a half years ago for the first time, who needed those words then and who also needs them now. The thing that is sad to me about people who never reread books is that books mean different things at different times, and if you don’t reread, you miss out on that. This was the best reading of A Ring of Endless Light that I’ve ever had. And I’ve read it a lot of times.

So this is to be a Madeleine autumn, then, it seems. I’ve already warned Mike, but I don’t think he really minds.

(The title of this post is a quote from A Circle of Quiet that I needed to hear today.)

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