I’ve got books running out my ears, overflowing bedside tables, desks, and coffee table. Sometimes, I think it would be better to read one at a time, but I have reading ADD. So, right now there are 4 (officially) going at once. And this time, instead of being confusing, the stars aligned and the combination is magic. It’s like the authors got together and planned it just for me. I’m only part-way in to each of these, but I am so excited about what I am learning, I need to record it in stages.
From Secrets in the Dark by Frederick Buechner: “But the danger is that there are so many voices and they all in their ways sound so promising. The danger is that you will not listen to the voice that speaks to you through the seagull mounting the gray wind, say, or the vision in the temple, that you do not listen to the voice inside you or to the voice that speaks from the outside but specifically to you out of the specific events of your life, but that instead you listen to the great blaring, boring, banal voice of our mass culture, which threatens to deafen us all by blasting forth that the only thing that really matters about your work is how much it will get you in the way of salary and status.”
From Louder Than Words by Todd Henry: “Your authentic voice is the expression of your compelling “why.” It defines the space that you are wired to occupy, and the unique value you are capable of contributing, which means that if you don’t use it, then that contribution is unlikely ever to be seen.”
From Rising Strong by Brene’ Brown: “I told him that with every ounce of my professional and personal being, I believe that vulnerability – the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome – is the only path to more love, belonging, and joy.”
From Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, “I was learning the craft of poetry, which really was an intensive version of what my mother had taught me all those years ago – the craft of writing as the art of thinking. Poetry aims for an economy of truth – loose and useless words must be discarded, and I found that these loose and useless words were not separate from loose and useless thoughts.”
A note on this last book – this is a tough and jarring book that leaves me gasping and confused at times, that makes me struggle with my view of myself as the truth about the struggles within the black communities are laid bare. This book is prose written as tightly as the best poetry by a man who has found his voice and is willing to share it with astonishing vulnerability.
These 4 books taken together challenge me from every angle – from the practical with Todd Henry, to the psychological with Brene’ Brown, the deeply spiritual with Frederick Buechner, and the brutal intellect of Ta-Nehisi Coates. Any one of these books would change me. All together, this season of reading will be unforgettable.