Over the holidays, one of my dearest friends in the world sent me a book. Not just any book, mind you, one that I’d been secretly wanting since I first saw the cover release. Present Over Perfect, by Shauna Niequist. I’m not sure if it’s because I was a lake girl growing up, or because the color scheme synced so well with the calming promise of the sub title, but this book has been on my mind for quite some time. So, imagine my surprise when the me that lives days away (seriously, I think the two of us are the same person in different bodies) sent me this book without even knowing how badly I’d been wanting it.
I quickly tucked the book away in its packaging to keep it safe (no bent or ripped dust jackets in my home) until I could settle into my favorite leather reading chair next to my favorite lamp, turn off the lights, hunker down with some hot cocoa, and enjoy. Back in my reality, though, I needed to get my daughter all squared away at her dance class. Once done, I settled myself outside the dance room on the cold, hard floor to read the latest manuscript of one of my clients (my authors always come first over free-time reads… You’re welcome. LOL) Then, I got her text message. The message. The one that was about to change my life. There was a note in the book. I was supposed to read it. Uh-oh. (I had no reason to be afraid, but my mind always goes to uh-oh until the unknown is made known.)
Now, you’ll have to factor in this little diddy to fully understand the magnitude of what happens next in this story: I am a book hoarder. That is not the same as an actual hoarder, because book hoarders can also be considered National Treasure Appreciators. We don’t have hoards–we have “libraries,” and we work diligently to keep building up those libraries, to create the elusive “wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, needs a ladder, even if the ceiling is only six feet tall” library. You know, like Belle had. Anything short of that is failure. So, again, main take-away here: once a book reaches my hands, it never leaves my possession. I am the keeper of all things words and spines (except for talking people… I’m not a socialite).
If you’re like me, then, you’ll need to brace yourself for this next part. It’s a doozey, and my first response was to break down, fall to my knees, and scream “The Horror!” at the top of my lungs in the parking lot of the dance studio. (Don’t worry. No animals or children were hurt in the making of this blog post…) Anyway, so my missive (because it was nothing short) was to read the book (*wipes brow* That’s doable…) and then to gift it to someone else… (*reads it again*) Wait. What? People really do this? Is it survivable? I like the idea of having a library, not loaning out books. Do I get to stamp a due date on it, or is this just sort of like if-you-love-something-set-it-free type loaning? Time to fall back down and commence yelling quotes from The Heart of Darkness.
Then, I re-read the note. Once my eyes stopped jiggling, my heart queued up a new emotion to help my brain out. Less lunatic-like and more logical now, I thought, Aww. That’s a sweet idea. This book is about living in the present. It’s about a more soulful way of living. Absorbing what the book has to offer in the present and then passing it along to someone else who I think may benefit from it does, indeed, seem like a more soulful way of appreciating a book.
Okay. Fine. I’ll do it.
So, this marks day one of my reading. I have no idea who’s going to get this book at the end of all this, but, whoever you are, know now that you are special.