I love reading. Always have.
I love the way that words form pictures in my head, pictures that make everything else going on in the world around me make sense. They are pictures I draw in my mind with someone else’s words, in the way that I read them, and in the way that I think about them.
I love that you can draw such an emotional connection to what you read in a way that comes from inside you. Think about it: someone else wrote the words, and they aren’t reading them to you. You can’t hear the emotion in their voice, or see it in their expression. You have only the words to draw it from. The emotional connection comes from inside you, and your own personal truth, not from whoever wrote them.
The times in which this happens best, and in ways which can be pretty profound, are when you read short and deep.
Quotations are the best examples: Just enough words, but not too many. Just enough for you to connect, and connect deep. Thank you Bart, for sharing these with me:
“It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes, we have to do what’s required.”
“Success is not a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.”
“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
“When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail.”
As much as I love full, robust, consequentially written books, sometimes I get in these moods where the books I prefer are the shorter devotional types which give me just enough, but not too much. They make me think harder because they don’t do all the work for me; I have to be the one to work it.
I have to think, and think well.
I seem to be in that kind of mood right now, wanting to mostly read short and deep. These are the books that I’m keeping close by me on my desk these days:
Abounding Grace, An Anthology of Wisdom. For me, the introductory essays M.Scott Peck has written to the chapters of selected quotes are the best parts.
Ready for Anything by David Allen of GTD fame: 52 productivity Principles for Work & Life. Read it quick, do it right away, and get it done, one thing at a time. Spurs for action.
The Women of Faith Daily Devotional: 365 Devotions on Hope, Prayer, Friendship, Wonder, Grace, Joy, Freedom, Humor, Vitality, Trust, Gratitude, and Peace.
Here’s the wonderful read which came from this last one today. I’ve had this book for 4 years now, and while I don’t read it every single day, I have often enough that I’ve read each entry two or three times, yet I still don’t tire of them. They are short and deep.
Praying at Heaven’s Gate
“David Livingstone is considered one of history’s greatest explorers. Born in Scotland in 1813, he was one of five children in a poor family that resided in two small rooms. His parents were poor in earthly wealth but rich in spirit, and they inspired their son to devote his life to serving God and his fellow man. Livingstone began working in the cotton mills at age ten and continued there for many years, eventually earning enough money to put himself through college, where he studied medicine and theology.
He spent most of his adult life exploring Africa, bringing modern medicine and God’s Word to its remotest regions. He was the first person to cross the continent from east to west and the first white man to see Victoria Falls. He planted missions, spread the gospel, and endured incredible hardships. In doing so, it is said that he added a million square miles to what was then considered the known world—and hundreds, maybe thousands, of souls to the heavenly rolls.
He was showered with accolades for his work. But the thing about David Livingstone’s life that most touches my heart is the way he died. Early on the morning of May 1, 1873, he was found dead, kneeling beside his bed. While doing God’s will, praying alone in a remote African hut, he was lifted up by God’s own hand.”
The thing with reading short and deep is that it doesn’t take long. You can get your fix and get inspired, and you are still reading. Reading, thinking, learning and growing.
I know we read a lot in this community of ours. Do you have any favorite reads like this that you consider short and deep? I find that they are not that easy to find, and I’d love to hear your recommendations if you have them.