I’ve finally discovered a way to slow down time.
Fast from something for 40 days.
My, how the days do seem to drag on.
For Lent this year, I chose to give up reading. At first it was nice to have quite a bit of extra time to do other things. But now I’m getting antsy — longing for the feel of a book in my hands.
Here’s what I’ve been learning on this slow fast:
1. It’s good to have a chance to be alone with my thoughts. When I grab a book every time I have a few minutes (or hours) I’m continually cramming information into my brain. It all gets squished in there and I can’t differentiate between my thoughts and the notions of the five authors I’m reading. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, given a little space to breath, I do think my own thoughts.
2. There has been a feeling of empowerment with denying myself something I assumed I needed. I can look at my TBR pile of books and say, “You’re not the boss of me.” I can drive by the library and gloat, “You have no hold on me. (Or holds for me.) ” I can click out of Amazon and resist the urge to hit “Buy now with 1-Click”. I can.
3. Limiting my reading to only one book (the Bible) has made that precious time delightfully sweet. My eyes are more eager in the early morning hours to open the pages and soak in the words. I’m paying attention better, staying more engaged and falling in love with the words of life.
4. I am learning that I can do without things and it’s not really that hard. What seemed like a lofty and admirable plan on Ash Wednesday, quickly showed itself to be small potatoes. Coffee, chocolate, Facebook, spending money, reading — those things aren’t as big a deal as we think. We could live without any of it and survive.
5. Reading lots of books had become a source of pride for me. I’ve kept track of every book I’ve read over the last twelve years and adding a title to that list was puffing me up a bit. Or maybe a lot. I don’t know who I thought I was impressing, but I didn’t see it for what it was until now.
6. Now I know what it’s been like for PB all these years when he’s wanted to go to sleep and I’ve kept the light on to read. It’s so annoying. But I’m proud of my hubby – he’s read more than I have in the last month.
7. It’s been confirmed in my mind that TV is a wasteland. Outside of watching a few documentaries and basketball games, my only other go-to activity has been to go to bed. I’ve definitely gotten more sleep than usual.
8. On the scale of what qualifies as true sacrifice, giving up reading is pretty weak. It doesn’t come close to donating a kidney or falling on a grenade to save a fellow soldier. My little experiment pales in comparison with what this Lenten season is really all about. The supreme sacrifice will never be required again – my debt has been paid in full. My eternal future has been secured, not because I gave up reading for forty days, but because my Savior gave Himself up for the love of the world.