The little girl runs her fingers across the spines of her books, caressing each one as she recalls each of their plots and characters, summarizing their contents as an artist taking inventory of her paintings. She likes them all, so it is difficult to choose one to reread, the Bookmobile not due for another week.
“I feel like “Heidi” today,” slipping that volume off her bedroom bookcase. Built and painted by her grandfather, it patiently waits to be filled with future birthday and Christmas presents, books always on the girl’s wish lists. She counts on these escapes into other worlds to sand off the rough edges of her own physical universe as she immerses herself into a main character’s joys and plights, their lives often more appealing than her own.
“I will be Clara’s friend, Heidi, today!”
Pouring herself a glass of cold milk, she then breaks off a chunk of cheese to complete her feast, carrying both with her and the book, to sit on the entryway wooden floor by the front door that is seldom used. It is private and quiet here, away from the clatter generated by her two brothers in further recesses of the house. She saves the snack until she is reading about Grandfather serving Heidi a meal of goat’s milk and freshly churned cheese up in their humble mountaintop cottage. Then, she eats and drinks along with Heidi as she reads. . .
As she develops into a teenager, the girl’s bookshelves are overflowing, ever expanding as new “friends” are added. The girl savors her times reading, preferring the fiction or biography story characters to her own set of personal friends, who often turn out to be fickle and undependable. After all, her book-friends could not talk back, and she was in control. The girl enjoys all of them, along with sequels that expanded the characters’ horizons.
Books have become the girl’s escape from the reality of her own somewhat dysfunctional family, relieving her from the stress and fears of her real existence, if only for a little while. Though she still develops “outside” relationships and a hefty church social life of events with other young people, her strong Christian convictions still separate her from most high school extra-curricular activities where she just doesn’t fit in. She has, usually, one particular friend at a time and enjoys their times together. But she continues to gravitate to her books, a magnetic force drawing her there as her “true north.” As a result, her vocabulary, spelling, and literature skills are well above her peers’ in reading comprehension and related subjects.
She has graduated from the stories of ‘The Bobbsey Twins’ and ‘Five Little Peppers’ and other school Scholastic treasures, to the adventures of ‘Trixie Belden’, ‘Nancy Drew’, ‘The Mystifying Twins’, along with ‘Cherry Ames’ and ‘Sue Barton’ and biographies of women like Florence Nightingale and Amelia Erhart. She now spends time on a “reading” branch up in a gnarled tree outdoors adjacent to the house front door, a perch invented just for her. She goes with the main characters on their escapades, laughing and crying with them much easier that her real-life reactions to events beyond her control.
The young lady now adds the Bible to her repertoire, and is amazed by the truths within its pages. The stories come alive, a veritable treasure cove of divine intervention in the lives of those who lived all those centuries ago, not so unlike the fictitious characters of her novels, and they actually happened in real life! And, gradually, like a painstakingly put-together puzzle, piece by piece, the girl develops a personal relationship with Jesus, her ultimate Best Friend. He listens to her, commiserates with her, communes with her as she lays her burdens at His feet. She tells Him her innermost thoughts--things she has never shared with anyone else--and is comforted by His presence in her life.
God fills the vacuum in the woman’s life, teaching her as He walks beside her through her trials and sorrows—and never, ever fails her. She is drawn to His side like a bee to honey, receiving nourishment from His Word. Her other books take a “back seat” as Best Friends now, although she still is an avid reader. Her real-life relationships take on a richer, more meaningful purpose in her life as she recognizes them, along with her books, as the good gifts Her Maker showers on her.
“Heidi” by Johanna Spyri
“The Bobbsey Twins” Series by Laura Lee Hope
“Five Little Peppers and How They Grew” by Margaret Sidney
“Trixie Belden” Series by Julie Campbell
“Nancy Drew” Series by Carolyn Keene
“The Mystifying Twins” by Joan Price Reeve
“Cherry Ames” Series by Helen Wells
“Sue Barton” Series by Helen Dore Boylston
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.