In Search of It

Yesterday I burrowed through boxes in search of a book I'd read perhaps six years ago. It was a gift from my brother and his wife, and they knew I would love it, even before I did.

But six years ago, I read it, and gave up after chapter two. It seemed like a good book to have "under my belt", but it never made it into my head. Because back then, my breathing was binary code, zeroes and ones, black and white. My steps were projects, tasks, emails, meetings, memos. I did not reflect at all, let alone on faith and art. I was a highly productive, often overworked, always reliable machine. And not much of a person.

So yesterday, during the book hunt, a dusty jacket slivered the skin of my finger tip. Of course, moments later, bleeding, I discovered the book I sought on the shelf, prominently displayed. Figures, I thought, and then trudged upstairs.

I composed a blog post in my head (not this one) as I stretched fingers beyond the headboard toward a felted bunny, a blanket and a baby doll, a reluctant seeker in this daily hide and seek with toys. The sheets fit only after I tugged, and after a reminder from my finger of its wound.

I shooed the dog away from the spread, threw pillows back on and hunted for a band-aid. Only Elmo was available, so Elmo would have to do.

And then back I trudged downstairs to the computer to sneak a peak. I could barely type with the furry-creatured finger cast. So off came Elmo because I'd rather wince than type slowly.

I had a million things to do before the first wave of guests arrived. But as I'd finally found the book that hadn't been hiding, I decided to read in between loads of laundry.

After a ten minute word feast, I was contented so by the rich texture and melancholic flavor that I dozed, drunk on ideas. (I dreamed that all my toenails were painted except one, and woke, then smiled, knowing all was well with my unpolished nails.)

I picked up L'Engle's words again, even though the laundry was now ready to be folded, the dishwasher ready to be emptied, and the Twitter stream gushing on without me in it.

And there it was. Finally. I found it in the reading quietly as I never used to do, and in the dreaming in the naps I never (not usually) take. I was no longer programmed like a machine or harried like a mother expecting guests.

My finger tip still pulsed, though not so much with pain as with awareness. And in my skin and my soul, cut by a book cover and sliced open with words, I discovered again how it feels to be alive. Like a real person. The kind of person that would just love this book.

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