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Grief taught me to read, to really read

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Jennifer Hubbard - published on 07/03/23

After Catherine was killed, I couldn't remember a single phrase and my one escape was closed.

I have always read books. Actually, and probably a more appropriate characterization is, I devour books. They are stacked on tables waiting to be opened and stashed on shelves waiting to be revisited. I would often muse over the ideas offered, or steal away in the settings created, completely abandoning the world around me. After Catherine was killed, it all changed. 

In the quiet of the morning, I read His Word and those He has used as his ink pen, and I couldn’t remember a single thing I read from mere minutes before. It seemed so unfair, still does even now, to consider. It was as if the one place I had found escape was now a mirage and I was a parched desert traveler.

I have come to realize that perhaps, at times what we think an escape hatch is the exact place that needs to be sealed shut, because using it will only delay the saving.  

In those days, my exhaustion was palpable, and frustration with forgetfulness maddening. I would tell you then that I had resorted to reading small strings of words, determined not to abandon my lifetime love. Morning after morning I opened the Word and read and reread two or three lines, begging my mind not to wander. It’s funny how life seems to work that way. What seemed a defeat for my mind and a power play of my body was the oasis where my broken heart would prevail. 

In those small strings I discovered each word chosen specifically and purposefully. In those words, the struggle of now was transformed into “the what will be” that I circled and squared. Oh, that I was blessed as I mourned, for I would live in the truth of compassion. I was the one for whom His plans were for good. My feet were placed on the heights.

Slowing down and savoring was an awakening to the reality that the desert I roamed was leading to the paradise of His scripting. 

Sure, consuming books is impressive. Being well read is notable. I know now, pouring through the words, rushing through the strings, does not always reveal the truth required to triumph in the journey walked. Far more important than being impressive is being filled; far more impressive than titles lining the shelves is living a life promised to be sacred, sustainable, and blessed. 

Sure, there are still the moments when my desire is to rush ahead, pour through the words in an attempt to arrive at my perceived oasis. In those moments, I am inevitably brought to the places where circled and squared words remind my heart of the One whose promises I will claim.


This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.

DeathFaithThe Human Being Fully Alive
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