Time Stolen

“If you have to ask yourself where you’ll find the time [to read], it means the desire isn’t there. Because, if you look at it more carefully, no one has time to read. Children don’t, teenagers, don’t, adults don’t. Life is a perpetual plot to keep us from reading.

Time spent reading is always time stolen. Like time spent writing, or loving, for that matter.

Stolen from what?

From life’s obligations…

Time spent reading, like time spent loving, increases our lifetime.

If we were to consider love from the point of view of our schedule, who would bother? Who among us has time to fall in love? Yet have you ever seen someone in love not take the time to love?

I’ve never had time to read. But no one has ever kept me from finishing a novel I loved.

Reading does not belong to the societal organization of time. Like love, it is a way of being.

The issue is not whether I have the time to read (after all, no one will give me that time), but whether I will allow myself the joy of being a reader”.

-Daniel Pennac, “Better Than Life”

What did you tell your students to do this summer? Did you assign them a summer book list? Give them a book for an end-of-year present? Remind their parents that reading is the surest way to keep their children from losing learning gains over the summer months? Most of us have encouraged our students to keep reading from now until the fall… but are we taking our own advice?

I hope you saw a reflection of your own life as you read the excerpt above. As the summer stretches out before you, will you make the time to read just as you’ve advised your students? Will you indulge yourself in novels, magazines, mysteries, for the sheer pleasure of reading?

What reading materials will you select? Are there any books on your bedside that will draw you closer to the Lord? Is the Bible tops on your list to dive into each day, or has a pile of magazines all but buried it?

As I read Daniel Pennac’s words, I was reminded of the importance of instilling a love of reading in my students, and also ensuring that books are a priority in my own life, especially those with spiritual significance. But it also made me think of my walk with the Lord in general: try re-reading the excerpt, but this time, substitute ‘praying’ or ‘meditating on God’s word’ in the places where the author mentions reading.

Time spent with God is also time stolen, because everything in our lives can be used as a distraction from Him and an excuse not to spend time with Him. There ARE lots of other things we could be doing with our time. Yet everyone who is in love makes time to spend with the one they adore: they relax their schedule, make personal sacrifices, delay less important obligations, and cut back on other pleasures to be with the one who matters more. Those in love find a way to include that most important person in even the most mundane activities, which somehow makes the tasks all the more enjoyable.

Summer can be a time when God is pushed to the side as we slip out of our routines; He can also be ignored for the pleasures of vacations, picnics, time relaxing by the pool. Yet He wants to be included in all of these activities: to be thanked for the unfamiliar beauty we see around us when visiting a new place; to have us tell others of His glory and goodness when we gather with friends and family, to be still and listen to Him speak in quiet moments of rest with our first Love.

Time will rarely be given to you for doing what matters most: will you steal from life’s obligations in order to love? No one can keep you from the things that matter most to you… let this summer be a test of what those things really are. Be passionate about your teaching and dig deeply into books that will help your professional practice; be adamant about the pleasures of leisure reading and purposefully choose materials that are fun and interesting to you; but most importantly, be determined to steal time for reading God’s word… like love, it is a way of being.


Anonymous said...

Wow! That was wonderful. I plan on re-reading it in the morning to ponder it some more. Thanks for that! God bless ~AHolden

brandi said...

Being a 1st year teadcher, I have been bombarded with books for professional development and for inspirational growth to renew my spirit... I have even tried reading 3 at one time... I decided that I need to take my time a read one each month and go from there...

I will read professional books by skimming and then read the inspirational ones more closely. I think the inspirational writigs prepare me to be better professionally anyway... (hope this note made sense!)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding me to stop and enjoy my gift of reading.
I truly believe I am much closer to God when I'm reading. It is like He is there reading along with me, we are engaged in a dialogue. He is helping me to gather new insights and to take a broader look at my life's journey.
Book store here I come!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for putting my conscience on the page. I know I need to read more, but like you said time is so priceless. Things that I know can be put aside should be.. especially for the lord.

Thanks again,

Robb said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tammy said...

Thank you for your words of truth. I so needed to be reminded of this. Thanks for sharing your faith. It is awesome.