Why I Read

By: Greg Pope

Gerald May says we are all addicted.  I am grateful that my addiction is not more dangerous than the compulsion to read.  It can be dangerous.  It has been known to keep me from doing things I need to do, especially around the house.  I am grateful it is required with my calling as pastor/preacher.

I have often wondered why I love reading so much even as an adult.  Several years ago, in the movie Shadowlands, C. S. Lewis, played by Anthony Hopkins said, “We read to know we are not alone.”  That statement resonated with a great deal of truth for me.  In books we discover that others struggle as we do and ask the same questions we do, among other things.

Recently, while rereading Frederick Buechner’s fourth autobiographical volume, The Eyes of the Heart, I was struck by what I believe is an even deeper truth as to why I read and the life-changing role reading has played in my life.

Buechner calls his home library the Magic Kingdom.  He says of the authors of the many books on his shelf:

The air of the Magic Kingdom is electric with the silence they are keeping.  What would I have been if I had never heard them break it?  What would they have failed to see if they had not pointed it out to me, and what would I have never heard without their ears to hear it through?  What would I have missed loving without them to show me its loveliness?  What marvelous jokes would have been lost on me?  What tears would I have never found the heart to shed?  And yet no less a gift is the mercy now of their keeping still . . . They are there for when I need them, but in the meanwhile there is not a word out of any of them.  Like wise parents, they are giving me room to be myself.

What gifts has reading brought to your life?  What would you have missed had you never read a book?  What gifts await you now in unread pages?

Sorry I have to go read now.