One of the many values I hope to have transmitted to my children is a life-long love of learning. I mostly learn through the medium of words. I love words.
By far the most common modality through which these words reach me is reading written text. I also access words by listening, as in listening to the lyrics of popular music, religious and secular. I listen to the people in a box as well, the fictional character and the news anchor. My favorite is listening in conversation to all the wonderful people I know IRL. Finally, I write something every day. Writing is my way of processing all I have learned and fine-tuning it so that I can either share it with others or enjoy it all bundled up for myself.
Words rule my life.
I am a voracious reader. I read fiction (American, foreign, novels, short stories), biographies, autobiographies, poetry and non-fiction. Plus I read the Bible, which has all of the above (parables count as fiction =). I read every day.
Right now I am reading two newer books on theology (one new release The Jesus Manifesto, one a year old, The Myth of the Christian Religion) and older book on theology (Kierkegaard, 1968), a self-published autobiography by an MK, and a book about supporting partners with depression.
I sample the magazines that show up in the mail: Rolling Stone, Reason, National Review, a local interest magazine, Enjoying Everyday Life, Charisma and Psychology Today. The Economist and The Christian Science Monitor are too expensive to subscribe but I love to pick up copies when I travel. Some of my subscriptions are set to expire and I will change out to new magazines. There are so many perspectives to learn from in the world!
I downloaded on my nook all three books by Stieg Larssen plus a couple by Ted Dekker (catching up on the Lost Books series) last month. I am thinking of downloading The Scent of Rain and Lightning. I love that title!
I read online everyday. I catch up on the news at Yahoo!, visit Cracked.com for a laugh when I need it, and check up on all my facebook friends a couple of times a week. I have twenty-one blogs bookmarked on my computer and I visit half a dozen daily, and all of them at least weekly.
I learn so much! I love learning. I am so limited in my own experience of life: limited by time, space and my own perspective. Learning from other people enriches my life in ways that I could never achieve on my own! I believe my life is enhanced by experiencing as much of other peoples thoughts, dreams, perspectives, art, imagination and wisdom as I can manage to acquire.
I can't imagine a life where my personal experience and thoughts were all that mattered, all that I was able to learn from. That, in my perspective, would be tragically limiting. Seriously, I am so glad to live in the information age!
I can watch the Wold Cup being played on the other side of the world, listen to birdsong on my own back porch, learn from the hard won wisdom of those who have gone before me from a book, interact with people all over the United States who have touched my life in one way or another via facebook, enjoy conversation and affection with my immediate family members, and have unlimited imaginative access to all I have ever read, listened to, watched, or experienced from the rich treasure of learning I have stored up in my brain.
Sometime during the day (like right now) I will write. I might write a letter, an e-mail, a journal entry or a blog entry, but I will write. I will write about some of the many things that have been on my heart that day: experiences, meditations, memories, struggles, blissful moments. Writing is a gift that I give myself, and I sometimes share with others. Words are a gift.
Words are what binds us all together in community and learning. Some people get a lot of comfort from sitting in silence together, and that has its place. But in order for us to experience a real connection, words must be present or at least have been/will be present in the relationship at some time! Words connect us, one human being to another.
Twice recently people I know and respect have said dismissively, "I don't understand how people have time to read!" One added that she also didn't understand (read :looked down upon as less than) people who blog. She certainly didn't have time for either reading or writing!
How tragic. Possibly, it is just a generation gap. She is much older than I. As for the other person, he laughingly admitted that it was really a matter of preference not time. That person spends much of his time avoiding people and relationships through Sudoku, Solitaire and other solo electronic pursuits. Perhaps he just has lower social needs than I have. shrug At least he is open-minded enough to listen to my perspective and see that I obviously love words and the human connection they represent! I appreciate that he does not feel superior to me because I read and write everyday.
Is it the reading? Is it the writing? Or is it the learning that is my daily thrill? I think it's the learning: learning from others by considering their words, learning about myself by allowing the words to flow from my heart to the outside world (paper or computer keyboard).
Learning, my daily thrill. =) May the joy of learning by yours too, dear readers, as you fill your own days with words: The word of God through writers from days past,the word of God through his people today; the words of humanity in all its various forms and experiences; the words formed by your own heart in response to this rich world of words.
Live (and learn) loved!