Monday, July 29, 2013

To Read or Not to Read
(that's my personal question)

Following on from  Carol’s post (Burning Beliefs, July 5th) and Meredith Resce’s comment on Facebook ( June 27th Does the idea of romance -finding the handsome prince and falling in love to live happily ever after - actually contribute to the state of unrealistic expectations that makes up our western psyche? Does it contribute to the notions that I need to do what's best for me, and to the all consuming passion that is illogical and unreasonable; that often wears off and leaves the consumer empty and disillusioned with life, their relationships etc?), I have been thinking….a dangerous pass time I know!

Why do we read fiction, why do we write it?

For a long time now my heart hurts when I read fiction.

Things have been happening in my life, as a parent of a 20ish son, it has been difficult, very difficult.

Reading fiction has caused my heart to pound, tears to flow and a feeling of despair. 
Life hasn't been heading towards a happily ever after chapter. 

I have always enjoyed the trip into Anne of Green Gables land (I have read the entire series 3 times), and have devoured an enormous amount of romance stories in my years.

The queen of self-help books, I would call myself, as I have bought every book on parenting, one book I bought twice, forgetting it hadn't helped the first time I bought it!  
And yet these books too, have caused a certain amount of despair, I couldn't find a neat and simple set of steps to cover our boy! 

And so I haven’t been reading much, apart from Christian Writers Down Under, blogs and yes I admit it, Facebook.

And then along came 2 freebies in the mail.  
My subscription to the Footprints magazine allowed me the gift of these books when the magazine sadly ceased.  I was thrilled to receive them.  I placed the books in the bookcase, I was interested to read them, itching in fact, but I knew my heart couldn't stand it. 

In recent weeks we have come to a place in our family, where my husband and I have had to face up to, things don’t always work out how we thought they would and we needed to pick up life again and live.  
We have been sheltering in the fearful place of ‘what if’ for too long. 
So we took a road trip, 3 days away and it felt like a month.  We let the countryside remind us of our great Creator.  We didn't talk that much (if you knew me better you would realise what an extra ordinary thing this is), instead, in a quiet and companionable way we let the fearfulness fall away from us. 

Merriwa is a little country town, a 5 hour car trip from where we live. 
The sunshine brought healing to our hearts as we sat and watched the world go by.
And we felt ready to head back to our life, with its difficulties, reminded God's got a plan better than ours. 

The story isn't finished, however it unfolds, there is no use comparing, wondering or asking why. 
It is what it is and we will trust God for the ‘what now’.

And that's when I found the freedom to read a novel again. 

Perhaps the snatch of time away from ‘real-life’, absorbed in a novel, might even give some inspiration from the hapless/victorious protagonist of the story!

I thank God for imaginations my dear writer friends!

To read or not to read.....READ!


  1. Hi Di
    I just wrote a response and lost it. Arggh computers.
    Just to say, I can relate to that feeling of struggle and realization that a situation isn't necessarily heading towards a "happily ever after" wrapped up in a pink bow. My brother suicided 11 years ago and I have recent bitter death of cherished dreams, ill health and spiritual dryness (I didn't speak to God more or less for two years - so glad HE didn't give up on ME). In each case God met me (and my family) at my point of need - in very special ways. Not that everything is perfect - still on this journey of healing and renewal.

    I agree that some books can give almost a saccharine outlook on life with neatly tied up endings - and life is not like that. It's usually pretty messy. I prefer books that acknowledge that messiness without succumbing to despair. And I know our God is a God of miracles - some big but more often small, daily miracles of renewal, hope and love.

    Besides we are still in the middle of the story - both personally and in the wider plan of God. Praying that God will meet you, your husband and son at your point of need.

    While not knowing what the situation is with your son, perhaps this might connect with you in some small way

    Blessings Jenny

    1. Thanks Jenny, I love your comment 'besides we are still in the middle of the story'.

      Even since writing this piece we have found glimpses of God's face shining on us and do feel the blessing of His peace.

      I love this forum for the blessings I have found in the camaraderie of companions on the journey of life.....will certainly be looking you up on Jenny's threads.
      xx Di

  2. My heart goes out to you Di.

    And yes, like both you and Jenny have commented, your story isn't finished yet. Our wonderful Father is always there holding us through all the hurts life throws at us. We just need to trust Him for the outcome. Easier said than done at times, but He knows what lies ahead even though the future might appear bleak at the present moment.

    So glad you got away awhile. Even Jesus needed a restorative time. Cyber hugs!!!!

    1. Thanks for the hugs Rita...greatly appreciated!

      We know God has got His plans for good....just a little hopeful they may come to pass sooner than later!

  3. There's some song lyrics that go - 'I just want to live happily ever after - every now and then.' For me, fiction reminds me that those moments do exist in everyday life for everyday people. When I was going through a hard time some years ago, I fell upon my favorite fiction. Our redheaded Anne was one read, and Jane Eyre was the other. There is so much hope in those stories. It's the hope that lifts, and we know that God gives hope and a future to all those who seek Him. Praying for a great boost of hope for you, Di. xo

    1. Thank you! Am already feeling the benefit of added prayers!

      So often when I am travelling in the 'valley'....I think I am the only one travelling the road! So nice to have the encouragement and reminder of hope, especially thru gals like 'our redheaded Anne', and friends from CWD!

      xx Di

  4. Yes, Di, I can also identify with what you wrote and really appreciate your openness. Trusting our heavenly Father is the only way to go, and I pray that He will give you His peace, which truly passes understanding. The time I REALLY experienced that peace was when I was hit with the worst shock. In among all the bad stuff it was a most precious experience. The Lord has worked good through those circumstances, but it took 7 years. I hope things will resolve more quickly for you!

    1. Oh Margaret how God must look at us as He watches us go thru the valley, He knows we are going to see His goodness in a bad situation EVENTUALLY!

      7 years is a long time, but I am sure your character has been built in a way that brings glory to God.

  5. Hi Di - Thankyou for sharing your heart. As others have said, your story isn't over yet and one day you'll be able to look back and see how the different parts of your life have been woven together for good. My husband and I have also had to face the loss of a dream over the last few years, and while it has been difficult, we are already starting to see how God is working through that and has made our relationship with him deeper. We recently read Sheridan Voysey's book Resurrection Year which we found really helpful. It's a very hopeful book, but doesn't give pat answers. I'd highly recommend it. May God bless you richly as you cling onto Him.

    1. Hi Nola,'richly cling onto Him' such a delightful phrase....I will certainly be borrowing that from you!
      Will also look up Sheridan's book...thanks!
      XX Di

  6. Sometimes it is hard when God doesn't answer as, or when, we expect. I think most of us could relate to that. Thanks for so honestly sharing your feelings and God's grace in time away and creation.No Matter what is happening in my life I can't imagine not reading though. But that's me. We all react differently.

    1. Hi Dale, I am fascinated with all the comments of how we do react in the face of difficult times...and also reminded we all travel through the valley at some time, but God's grace above all our coping processes is the way out and through the valley.
      xx Di

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  8. Hi Di! Thank you so much for your honest, loving and thoughtful blog. And I think it's so special too how everyone else who has commented has related to and encouraged you. Recently, I had to prepare a message on Psalm 23, which I find such an encouraging psalm, even though it is often read only at funerals! So may your soul continue to be restored in the days to come, just as that psalm talks about. God bless.

  9. Thanks for the blessings Jo-Anne....belonging here, to this site has certainly been a place for me to find some inspiration, encouragement and comfort.

  10. I'm sorry you're going through a hard time, Di. Clinging to God's promises is sometimes all we can do, even when it appears our faith has been shattered.

    Praying for you.