If you read my post from yesterday, you know my word for 2020 is RECLAIM. If you haven’t read it yet, you can do so here. What does this look like for me? In essence, I am intentionally seeking to reclaim all the enemy has stolen from me over the last couple of years. And…there has been much.
As I reflect over the losses, I’ve had to admit some of them actually began just under a decade ago when losing my husband, Chris, to suicide. While I healed quite well following that intensely suffocating season of life, there are parts of me that I just lost. One of those was my passion for reading.
As a little girl, I devoured books from the moment I was able to read the words. I participated in every reading challenge and opportunity presented to me at school. Furthermore, my grandad would take me out one Saturday a month for a special time with him, and that time always included a trip to the bookstore to pick out my favorite Nancy Drew or Judy Blume book. I. Read. All. The. Time. Books not only brought pleasure, but they presented an opportunity for me to briefly escape from the horrors of a very dysfunctional childhood into another fantasy world…one without the drama I lived in daily.
Fast forward to 2011…the year Chris died. Outside of God’s Word, I read very little following his death, and it was only books on grief, Heaven, suicide, surviving loss, etc. Even then, my reading time measured nowhere close to what it had been in all the years past. This pattern of reduced reading only continued until I could actually count on one hand the numbers of books I read in a year. I realize for some of you who don’t like to read, it would be quite an accomplishment to read even one book in a single year, but for me, losing my passion for reading meant losing a piece of myself.
Last year, as I struggled to come out of my grief abyss in the second year following Joel’s death, I decided I was going to read again. Being the competitive person that I am, I challenged myself through the GoodReads app to read 40 books in 2019. You can imagine my surprise when I got to the end of the year to discover I had actually read 70 books! Yes…7-0 books! What in the world? All I could think was, “I’m back!” Or…at least that part of me and my personality was back. I found such a love for reading all over again. I love reading across all genres (with the exception of horror – no thank you), but my favorites are memoirs and historical fiction. With memoirs, I love reading the stories of people who have overcome significant obstacles or horrific past experiences – maybe because I can relate. (Speaking of those types of memoirs…I highly recommend Etched in Sand by Regina Calcaterra. You can read more about it here. It’s amazing!)
With such a surprisingly successful reading year in 2019, I’m doing it again in 2020 (or at least attempting to). I’ve challenged myself to read 80 books this year. It seems a bit daunting, however I really want to try to surpass what I did in 2019. Let the challenge begin!
Reading is only one minor area I’ve reclaimed (so far), but it brings me such joy to see the real me shining through the darkness again.