Saturday, October 3, 2009

It's not what you have...

I love books. Actually, I love just about anything to read, be it blogs, magazines, or the backs of cereal boxes on a slow day, but especially books. Enormous unabridged dictionaries to look up unusual words, children's picture books to scan and tuck away for my future grandchildren, cookbooks with a thousand different recipes for chili. Gardening books that discuss heat-loving plants, tomes of British and American history, classic science fiction that I've read over and over again. Biographies of visionaries, rulers, and rebels. Fantasy, mystery, theology. I love them all.

And you can tell it the minute you enter my apartment. My little bitty studio apartment.

I have books all over the place. On shelves, in drawers, under the bed, on my desk, in my backpack and purse and truck. I have more books than I have time to read this semester, this year, maybe even a lifetime. And they just keep coming, from thrift shops, bookstores, friends, and Paperbackswap. And I even have books in storage with my personal effects at my friend's house. Just in case I don't have enough to read, sometime in the next century, right?

Really, it's not as bad as it could be, not as bad as it has been in the past. When I moved here, at the beginning of my time at NC State, I got rid of several hundred books. I gave them to friends, to the thrift shop, to fellow members of Paperbackswap, to my church! I knew I couldn't possibly fit them in this new home of mine, not even in boxes. I had to get them out. And with great reluctance, I did so.

For a good while, I felt free. There was plenty of space, and other people would have the time to read my hoarded volumes, while I concentrated on finishing my degree. But then, I started picking them up again. A few books here and there, what could it hurt? I could save them for later, for break, for summer, I'd get to them sooner or later, right?

But I've just realized that I'm working on getting too many books. Again. And it's time to stop, or at the very least, send out books as fast as they come in. I don't have the time to read them! And what is the reason for a book? To be read, that's what.

Okay, so I have a lot fewer than I used to, I still have more than I need. And that goes for a lot of things beside books. What do I really need, anyway? How many CDs can I listen to? How many shirts can I wear, how many pairs of jeans or shoes? And how many pairs of earrings does one woman actually need? The answer is, really, a lot less than I own. And I'm betting that a lot of us can say the same thing.

No matter how cool the ads look, I am not a better person for buying things I don't need. I'm not a nicer person, a better friend, mom, singer, or student. And if I am given a certain amount in life, God didn't just give it to me to please myself with. When I'm not constantly feeding my craving for the latest and greatest by my favorite authors, I have more to give to others who can use the help. People who probably don't have way more things than they need. And that's something that makes me feel better than even the best book.

Time to read what I have, and stop browsing over at Amazon, right?

It's not what you have, it's who you are. The person God made you to be.

Your (recovering book addict) sis,


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