This feels a little bit like cheating, so I need to put this right out there first: I don’t know a single person in this picture.
I took a picture of this picture last Thursday night. It was part of a collage that one dear friend made for another dear friend who is moving away. Each of us choose one of the quaintly dressed ladies to represent us based on facial expression. (Mine looks like she’s got a juicy secret!)
Three years ago I got tired of wishing someone would invite me to a book club, so I started my own. I love to read – actually, “love” seems too mild a word to describe how I feel about reading. It’s as essential as fresh air or vitamin D to me. Too little of the written word leaves me shriveled up and dried out inside. I’ll read just about anything and at just about any time of day. I read while I eat, while I’m waiting in the car, while I brush my teeth. I have books and magazines squirreled away in every room of my house so I never have to look for something to read, and it’s not at all unusual for me to be reading several books simultaneously. There’s probably a word for this. Librophile or bibliophile, maybe. Libromaniac, more likely. Whatever the label, I’ll gladly wear it, and with pride.
I always seemed to be asking my friends if they’d read this amazing book or that one, so I found a few ladies who wanted to read along with me. We met at my house on a Wednesday night in August 2010, and there were 5 of us. The very first book we read was the Jodi Picoult book Plain Truth, which I had read before but no one else in the group had, and I chose it because it was so good I didn’t mind reading it again. And I loved the surprise ending!
It’s been interesting to see the kind of books each member chooses for us to read. We’ve had some real winners (What Alice Forgot, for one)and some real stinkers (anyone read Life of Pi?), and not being in charge of the book choice has made us move outside our comfort zone sometimes. Over time we’ve been able to be honest and unapologetic honest about our taste in reading material. We have one member who read The Hunger Games under protest because she was convinced it had no redeeming value whatsoever. I don’t think we ever convinced her otherwise. But we learned that each of us is entitled to her own opinion, sometimes we just have to agree to disagree, and that we can love each other anyway. Loving people even though you disagree with them? That’s a concept that could change the world, people.
Over the years we’ve been meeting, our discussions have become less and less about the book we read together and more about life in general. We agonize over our children, we laugh and cry together, we pray over each other, we celebrate together and cheer each other on. We walk away refreshed. And every month we wish we could get together every week instead of once a month.
Anyway, back to the picture. My sister of the heart Misty, a founding member of the BCVs, is moving to New England to be part of a church plant. The move has been in the works for over a year, but I still haven’t adjusted to the idea. I think I’ve been in denial. She was one of my first friends here in SC and it breaks my heart to see her go, yet I know she’s following God’s call on her life. How do you reconcile those two emotions? I want her to stay, but I know she has to go. Thursday was our last book club meeting with Misty because she has to be at her new job in two weeks. We didn’t even discuss the book. We just loved on our friend and we laid hands on her to pray her into her new life. And then we hugged each other. And we cried together one last time.