Friday, December 26, 2008

God's Reading List

Last spring, sometime around the end of March and beginning of April, I was driving home from work, full of the frustration and craziness of another working day, when it suddenly occurred to me that I was sick of my job, sick of the city and really quite sick of people. I was inspired to take a quick detour, stop at a bookstore, and pick up a copy of Walden: moving from the sudden thought of the book as perhaps having some answers for me to buying the book about fifteen minutes later.

Most of the time I feel like my life is a meaningless tangle of frustrated actions that are pretty much guided by nothing; but, occasionally there feels like there is another hand at work. That day in the spring was one of those days. The thought of Walden came out of nowhere and the need to go buy it and read it was strangely urgent, and I felt strangely present and awake during the whole process. Who knows if there is a God? Who knows what God is? I certainly don't know much, but I do know that going and buying that book that day felt divinely inspired and the the results of it have changed my life.

A book can change a person's lifeand Walden has certainly changed mine. It brought a keen awareness of nature into my life for the first time and it revealed to me a way of thinking that is utterly foreign to the culture I live in. Reading Thoreau lead me to other writers: Emerson, Annie Dillard, Stephen Graham, Edwin Way Teale and on and on until it started to feel like God was giving me a reading list specially designed to help me make my soul.

It's my plan to start including quotations from the writers on "God's Reading List" here. I will start at the start of it all with one from Thoreau:

"The very simplicity and nakedness of man's life in the primitive ages imply this advantage at least, that they left him still but a sojourner in nature. When he was refreshed with food and sleep he contemplated his journey again. He dwelt, as it were, in a tent in this world....but lo! We now no longer camp as for a night, but have settled down on earth and forgotten heaven."

Friday, December 19, 2008