In Surviving the Stillness, when Abigail insists nothing is wrong with her despite all her symptoms, Dr. Mason stops her and says, “You aren’t fine, Miss Morgan.” That line reverberated through my brain this morning as I insisted I could conquer my lengthy to-do list.
You aren’t fine.
I could hear Dr. Mason’s voice, but I didn’t want to listen. Fast-forward through grocery shopping with my four year old, unloading and putting away the cold groceries, making some lunch, helping the kids with a few projects, feeding the baby, getting her down for a nap, trying to make changes to a Google spreadsheet, and starting and stopping a half dozen other things in between, and you’ll find me collapsed on the couch. My heart is racing, and I can feel the irregular heartbeat threatening to send my heart out of rhythm. I did too much. Now I’m down for the count. Six hours have passed and nothing is marked off my list. I’m frustrated, exhausted, and wishing I would’ve slowed down and been intentional with how I used my limited energy.
It’s funny how God can use fictional characters to speak to us. The way a line can ricochet through time and worlds right into our lives. As a reader, I take time to record those moments when a book speaks directly to me. I have a list of quotes from books I’ve read. Many of them are not what most would consider profound. Often they capture moments in a way that resonate.
“steady soft sobbing, like whispers of grief seeping out of all the corners and cracks of the earth.” (The Return by Sonia Levitin)
“he could feel a shell of hardness drawing over him.” (The Pearl by John Steinbeck)
The way words can jump from the pages of a book into our lives is a bit of a mystery, though it shouldn’t surprise us. Words are powerful. They can be used as a weapon to destroy or a balm to heal. Even God spoke all of creation into being. Which is why I keep this journal. I value those who can pen life into words that then reverberate back into life.
It’s a gift.
Between the pages of all the books out there, are lessons and wisdom for us to learn from. We can heed the fictional voices because human experience is universal. Today, I was reminded to listen to my body and heed my doctor’s instructions. Tomorrow, I might need to remember that my friend’s soft tears may be flowing from somewhere much deeper than I know or that the tight grasp I have on something is making me hard-hearted. Whatever happens, I will be grateful for words to help me understand. I will be grateful for word to encourage my friends and instruct my children. Hopefully, one day my words will be penned in someone else’s journal and encourage them.
What line from a book has resonated with you recently? What lesson did you learn?