I love to read. I usually choose fiction and specifically books that feature a spy, detective, CIA operative or something along those lines. Recently, I have read more memoirs or true stories such as Fire Road, They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky, Educated and The Beautiful No. I have On Being Human in the queue.
When I was in high school, we took speed reading. I don’t know how it benefited me, except that I can read really fast. One way to read fast is not to read every word. This serves me well when I am reading fiction books. I can skip entire paragraphs because I glance at the words and can tell if it is pivotal to the story or a descriptive paragraph. Sometimes I skip those. I apologize to those who are having chest pains right now because they read every word. It just isn’t always necessary. (I will say this technique has not served me well when reading scripture or when reading aloud. I have to force myself to slow down and read every word.)
The problem with fiction books: I got lost in the character’s story. When it comes time to interact with my family, I struggled to remember that I am not a CIA assassin and no one is following me. At least that I know of…
Too often, in real life, we escape into someone else’s story. Rather than look at our own sticky plot, we prioritize involvement in the stories of others. In this way, we put off working out our own resolution, finding meaning and distraction in a story not our own.
Are you escaping in a story other than your own? Do you find it easier to work out the twists and turns of their plot rather than face the complications in your own? This could be reading books, watching TV or focusing on the problems of people around you.
A word to the wise: it will be waiting for you no matter how long you are gone. Come on home and be present in your own story. It will be the best gift you give yourself, your family and your friends.