I’ve been a lifelong reader. I came by it honestly. My mother is a reader, as was my grandmother. I believe I could count on one hand the days in my adult life I have not picked up a book to read.
Through books I interact with people I will never meet, some long dead, some too famous or far away to ever have a chance of meeting. Through books I have learned to value good writing and to critique poor writing. I have trudged through War and Peace secretly wishing Tolstoy had a more discerning editor, and soldiered on through Les Miserables after giving up halfway several times. There were gems of thought and narrative hidden in both. I have yet to conquer Dicken’s Bleak House, but I believe I will someday! It has been a privilege and delight to use my eyes to explore the minds of other people.
Last year, my mother had a retinal detachment which has unfortunately not been corrected successfully. One eye down, and it was the ‘good’ eye. Her ability to read was severely hampered by the fact that the remaining eye had a cataract(s).
After a year and a half of this nightmare, the cataract issue was miraculously resolved, by modern medicine’s amazing cataract surgery. The same modern medicine, mind you, that couldn’t seem to fix the detached retina. Go figure. She can now read and see distance! During all of this my mother, an avid reader, has born with sweet grace a trial that I would find horrifying. I had to imagine, what if this was me?
A sign at her eye Doctor’s office read, “I opened two gifts from God this morning; my eyes.” Indeed. Sight is a precious gift, and for many obvious reasons. But for me, reading is near the top of the list.