Recently, I was having a conversation with a colleague about reading in the real world. She asked something to the effect of “how do adults use Literature?” As an English major and Humanities teacher, I felt myself squirm. I tried to explain the beauty of books. And the truth found in fiction. And experiencing/learning through characters. Blah, blah, blah.
It felt strange trying to defend myself. I know why I read. But why should others?
Then it hit me. I was poised with my answer. It’s a quote by C.S. Lewis and one of my all-time favorite lines: “We read to know we are not alone.”
Why read? Because reading is connecting.
When I first moved to Bend, my neighbor, Diane, saw me front-porch-reading and invited me to her Book Club. Not knowing a soul, I jumped at the chance to meet others, and quickly said yes.
At first I felt intimidated by the age differences. Most of the women were closer in age to my mom than myself. I felt out of place and out of context. But I was also intrigued. I loved hearing the stories from women further down the journey. Of broken hearts and broken-in bodies. Of lessons learned and life’s disappointments.
Each month, we gather around the table to share Literature. But, we also get to share Life. These women are part of my story. They encourage me and inspire me and make me feel like I’ve found my tribe.
Maybe for you it’s yoga. Or bible study. Perhaps it’s antique cars or spoon collecting. But, we all need to belong to something. We need others we can identify to – and resonate with. We were made for connection.
For me, reading isn’t just in the real world. It is a reflection of the real world. It’s messy, flawed and incredible. A reminder that we are not alone.