"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Slice of Life: Life Has a Certain Uncertainty

Life has a certain uncertainty.

The man sitting in the chair, at a table, lets his right hand rest gently on the edge of the book he is reading.  The fingers of his left hand slide down the page marking the lines that his eyes sweep across, back and forth, slowly. My father looks no different than the man he was one year ago, yet he is. He decodes beautifully. He reads with fluency. His cadence is spot on.  Yet when asked what he has just read, he has difficulty recalling.  My father suffered a brain bleed back in January, this brain bleed resulted in a fall, one of three that he experienced a five month period. His physical scars healed, but the ones we could not see have been the most damaging.


Life has a certain uncertainty, 
but reading is a constant.

My father sits at the table reading because the act of reading is ingrained in his being and the pleasure taken in time spent reading has not waned. Each day he reads the poetry of ee cummings, Wendell Barry, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, and Naomi Shihab Nye to name a few.  Reading these poets poetry is like visiting old friends.  Even in some of the darkest moments when he could not read, we read to him.  My daughter often brings Shakespeare plays to read. I wrote about reading The Lions of Little Rock with him. 

Life has a certain uncertainty, 
but reading is a constant.

There are choices we make and choices that are made for us. There are things we can control and things we cannot control. In a time of certain uncertainty and lack of control, I am controlling what I can – I have reorganized all the books in my house – meaning I have touched at least 1,000 books. It's like gardening, each bookcase is being weeded and pruned and books are being moved and planted elsewhere.  I am keeping the books safe since I am unable to guarantee the safety of my children (who are off at college) or my father or any of the people I love.  I am spending time with my most prized possessions – after the people in my life (especially my children and husband) - books. We are Book-ish as you know!

Life has a certain uncertainty, 
but reading is a constant.

I am in the sandwich generation, caring for both my children and my parents.  Am I the bread or the filling? I don't know, but all I am certain of is that this sandwich is held together with a thick schmear of love and a very large #bookstack.  In a time of certain uncertainty, after the love of family and friends, there is but one constant, the written word.

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Every Tuesday, Stacey hosts Slice of Life at her blog, Two Writing TeachersIf you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories.  For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, go here.

10 comments:

  1. I love this
    I am in the sandwich generation, caring for both my children and my parents. Am I the bread or the filling? I don't know, but all I am certain of is that this sandwich is held together with a thick schmear of love and a very large #bookstack. In a time of certain uncertainty, after the love of family and friends, there is but one constant, the written word.
    Have a wonderful holiday season, you deserve it :)

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  2. Jennifer,
    Your constant of books and family is beautiful. It is wonderful that your dad has his friends in books and poems. Sounds like he has also had a hand in creating that "bookish" family of yours. You're giving me ideas about my family situation too. Books are a constant. We are bookish too.Thanks for the reminder to cultivate that with the old and the young in our lives.

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    1. Thank you. Writing has been helping! :)

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  3. I never thought about being the filling of the sandwich as a grown adult with a child and with parents, who thankfully don't yet need my care. That's an analogy I will hold on to.

    Beautiful post, Jennifer.

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  4. This is lovely. You're right, life does have a certain uncertainty, doesn't it? Books help us through all our days. I've been reading Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life, by Dani Shapiro, and she says this about reading: "When I start my day with [a book], my day is made instantly brighter." Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I love this! I may make it part of my next round of Nerdlutions!

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