I’ve had a few nicknames in my life. Several I hated. One I hated and grew to like. A couple I’ve liked from the start. And one is just true. That one would be “bookworm.”
I’ve been an avid reader since I learned the alphabet. I read whatever was handy – books, magazines, the box the toothpaste came in. It was a compulsion. My family started calling me a bookworm, and I couldn’t deny the truth of it.
A lot of what I read growing up wasn’t exactly edifying, but, thankfully, God used my twenties to turn my attention to Spirit-building material. Life in a new city with hardly a soul knowing my name resulted in many lonely hours watching TV and crocheting a blanket. Somewhere along the way crocheting gave way to Bible study, and I was hooked.
I first came across a Bible study in a Christian bookstore. I browse a clothing store in less than a minute with enough time left over to check Facebook, but I spend gleeful hours in a bookstore. My heart beats faster as I walk in and breaks just a little as I walk out. Don’t ask me to explain it because I can’t. No great love lends itself to mere words and phrases.
As I worked through that first Bible study and many more afterward, I developed a taste for books, both fiction and non-fiction, written with a Christian world view. That means that I learned to prefer books about God and for God. I like my fiction to be about heroines working through aspects of their faith, and maybe even falling in love in the process. I like my non-fiction to be about real people working through aspects of their faith, and definitely falling more in love with Jesus in the process.
The rest of my twenties were spent with the comfort of an edifying book in one hand and the satisfaction of a tasty beverage in the other. Friday nights were a treat because I could stay up as late as I wanted reading “just one more chapter” until I passed out and slept away much of Saturday morning. Bliss.
After reading my fair share of romance novels, it was only a matter of time before I fell in love, too. My early thirties found me trading in my bookworm title for girlfriend, fiancee, bride, wife, and now mommy.
But here’s the thing – I never meant to give up the bookworm moniker. I thought that it would happily live alongside every other title I took on. It never occurred to me that my love for my husband and children would dwarf my love for books to the point that I forgot about them a little bit.
And I’ve been the worse for it. Reading takes me to a quiet place inside my head that lends some of its peace to other areas of my life. So I’ve spent the past year falling in love with books all over again. I’ve learned that I still prefer books written with a Christian world view in mind to every other genre. I still enjoy Bible studies and romances. And devoting bits of time to that quiet place still makes me feel more peaceful.
I gladly reclaim my identity as a bookworm, and place that title alongside every other. These days I enjoy the comfort of an e-reader in one hand and the satisfaction of a child cradled in the other, but I’m still not much different from that little girl reading the box the toothpaste came in because it was handy. It’s still a compulsion, but one that I have learned to use to make the truly important aspects of my life better.