Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Safety of Libraries

Today, we've seen switches from sunny skies to thunder storms and then back again. This afternoon, Tyler and I left home to walk to a playground about a mile from home. While I usually am of the mind not to prepare much and to just set off on an adventure, today, I brought the massively oversized umbrella.

Just in case.

After buying two lollipops at the local corner store for six pence a pop, we headed to the playground to swing. Tyler noticed a variety of aircraft wheeling through the sky, and I sang songs about eating lollipops and noticing aircraft wheeling through the sky.

The sunny, blue sky.

And then clouds almost as massively oversized as our umbrella somersaulted into our day. And with the clouds came the rain. And with the rain came the thunder and lightening.

And then the hail.

Tyler and I launched the umbrella, providing a completely new world under which we could walk the five minutes to our tiny Fulford Library.

And this is what I expect Heaven to be like: running from a hailstorm, holding hands with someone you love, and entering into the safety of a place filled with books.

Free books.

Covers which call out stories of hope, betrayal, forgiveness, love, redemption, pain, loss, and joy.

Characters which beckon one to listen, if only for a week or two.

Plots which point back to our hearts.

Rushing into the Fulford Library today, closing our umbrella and leaving it soaking in a corner of the small safe haven, it was difficult not to theorize.

And I think theorizing is a valuable activity if your feet and pants are soaking through and small balls of ice are hanging onto your sandals and socks like the nettles of a pricker bush. Theorizing in a state like that usually leads to joy.

As Tyler and I rushed the children's section, the books indeed beckoned us in. Come on! Warmth! Friends! Hope! Possibility!

Shelter from the storm.

C.S. Lewis once said that "we read to know we're not alone."  I think he's right about that one. We read to find the shelter of the stories of other souls, who travel paths not unlike our own.  We read to find a place of refuge in which to rest our weary feet, dry our soaking, sometimes threadbare clothes.

At every turn of my life, it seems a library was always waiting to welcome me no matter what storm I find myself facing. Whether it was the John F. Kennnedy Elementary School library of Windsor, CT when I was seven and confused and unsure of who I was (and still sometimes am at 30), or when we first arrived in York and knew of no where else to go on a rainy, cold day other than the city center library--the safe haven of warmth and stories has always been there for me.

Words that make warmth wring out my wet life, and lend hope in the midst of hail. Always.