Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Uniquely Portable Magic

I know I said I was officially an Illinois resident two weeks ago... but now it's really, really official.

I unpacked my books.

(As Mark's dad said, "I guess that means she's staying, huh?"  And, well, yes.  It does.)

It was about time, right?  We moved my books over with the first load of boxes (okay, my 20+ boxes of books were the first load of boxes) back in February.

I've been without my books since February, guys.  I don't know how I did it.

Actually, that's a lie.  I know exactly how I did it.  I bought more books, obviously.

And I got a library card.  That helped.  If, by helped, you mean that I brought home a gigantic pile of books that I can't possiby read in three weeks.

But, over this past week, I methodically unpacked my books, put them back in order (alphabetical by author's last name, as God intended) and loaded up my bookshelves.

There are truly few things I find as purely and thoroughly satisfying as organizing my books.  I know, I'm a freak.  

I don't care.

Mark called it a "ceremony," and I suppose it is, a finely honed process that I've practiced throughout the years, with every move, with every life change (and with every major book purchase).  Book by book, shelf by shelf, until everything is just right.

Books are, quite possibly, my one true love.  They've been around longer than any of my other friends, certainly longer than any of my romantic relationships.  They've been a source of comfort, of escape, and of familiarity.  I bring books with me everywhere.  I carted them back and forth to college (well, not all of them, but more than I could possibly need).  I moved them to our campus apartment at seminary.  I moved them to the old apartment in South City (and then moved them within that apartment after my ex left).

I bring them along on vacation.  I always have at least one in my purse.  I've cried with them, laughed with them, and fallen asleep with them.  I horde them and loan them out and always, always want more of them.  I pick up books like abandoned pennies on the sidewalk, tucking them away for a rainy day.

There's a great Stephen King quote that says "books are a uniquely portable magic," and I very much believe it.  They have great power, as I said, to comfort and relax me.  When I had my back surgery at age ten, I constantly asked my parents to read to me, to take me away from the hospital bed and the IVs and the sterile cacophony of the hospital itself.  Together, we worked our way through the Chronicles of Narnia, and I drifted in and out of that make-believe world on a trippy ride of morphine-fueled imagination.

Not much has changed, minus the morphine.  I still rely on books, only now I don't need them to escape.

Now? My books feel like... well, like home.  

And, even better, they make our house feel that much more like home for me.  We're still struggling to move into a place that has still not been entirely moved out of (and, honestly, it's starting to stress me out), so every little bit helps.  Seeing my books, in my bookshelves, lined up along the wall?

That helps quite a bit.

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