The whole concept of reading, which most of us do daily without pausing to consider the marvel of it, embodies a complexity akin to quantum physics. One human life has a thought – that is remarkable and discuss-able in itself – and then tries to change those thoughts into the building blocks we call words. That is only a first step. To have those words expressed in a permanent form, man has chipped rocks, drawn with sticks in the sand, carved on trees, pressed in clay, daubed paint on walls.
It is when a second person sees those carvings, drawings or scribbled paint and understands what is in the mind of the first that a miraculous exchange has taken place. To read words written (or caved, chipped, daubed) in a previous time is to get inside the mind of another, to capture a thought formed and held perhaps centuries earlier. Talk about time travel! Like art and music, the written word leaves a record of a human mind and spirit, a footprint of existence.
Some of it is mundane, practical (pick up the dry cleaning). Some is instructive (Microsoft XP for Dummies). But when the heart and soul of the writer reaches across space and time to touch the soul of another, it is a life changing event.
I read an essay last evening which was really an address given at Hillsdale College by Mark Steyn. His topic was the Canadian economy and I laughed ’til I cried. Comfortably propped on my bed pillows, I transformed the patterned ink to the words of humor and wisdom which had been conceived, delivered and written weeks earlier. The “simple” act of reading has introduced me to another human, and a witty one at that.
This morning I reread a portion of one of the most outstanding books I have ever read. When I finished it the first time, I ordered 6 copies so I can give it away to others. My words are not adequate to express the joy, the delight, the mind-transforming that it brings. Written by William P. Young, The Shack conveys theology better than any seminary and a lifetime of Christian living could. To get so much understanding inside the covers of one small book, and to do it with a story so gracefully told, is a huge achievement and a gift to human kind. Answering questions that have been raised by man for eons, and doing it in a page-turning style, is no small feat. It would almost seem that he had a (Holy) Ghost writer.
He is, after all, the Word. And that is, I suspect, where this whole topic began.