I have always been a person of the Book. A woman of the Word. Scriptural record? Spiritual speech? Native language. Mother tongue. The good news for me is that the good news of the gospel also came through classic literature, classic rock, nude art, folktales, folk music, Bible swears, and ritual recipes. All handed down in a lineage of love, trust, and sometimes skepticism. I mean, when you have a Biblical name, but your parents chose it from a musical about polygamy where Clint Eastwood belts out, “They Call the Wind Mariah,” you are bound to accept many paths to truth. And so, I often have.
I was born and raised a Mormon girl. And I bore and raised all my children on that path to the church pew. We thrived there; until we didn’t. Then, as Isaiah of Old prophesied, “A little child shall lead them.” Though our kids were mostly grown as they moved beyond the chapel doors, they were still kids. The bindings of the Book became too tight for their sovereign spirits, and one by one, they left the bench and led us to green pastures. Interesting, what Tolkien knew about wandering souls eludes most religious people. Not all who wander are lost. You should read his whole passage on that. Sometimes, when you wander, you’re found.
Books are my wandering place. Books by diverse authors whose eyes and lives explore depths I will never personally know. Picture books and thousand-page tomes, though my brain is better equipped for the former than the latter. Leathery books, papery books, audiobooks. Reading aloud is a love language I relish. One of the most silvery-linings of having a husband who’s legally blind but can still see to read: on all of our road-trip wanderings, he is always the reader, and he speaks this favorite love language of mine eloquently.
Beyond all the published and polished works, my favorite books are journals and letters; love notes from the Universe. Rituals of frequent writing saved my grandfather during a world war. Saved me when I wandered far off; a bread-crumb trail home to myself. Saved histories and heritage that would otherwise be lost. My great-grandmother Edna Grace wrote a few sparse lines every day in a diary I hold close. She, like the Gods, noted the fall of a bird, fields of flowers, frost on the air, the birth of my mother, the expanse of her roots. I see the workings of the cosmos in personal narrative. Patterns of sacred geometry in messy scrawl. Everyday magic in memoir. Mine and others.
So while I was born with scripture and verse running through my veins, I’m prone to wander. I am no longer tightly bound to any book. Rather many books are loosely bound to me. When one grows too heavy for my journey, I lay it down and wait for the next word to come. Eventually, it does.