stupid novels

Sherry likes novels with at least a five inch girth. Like a toddler’s unrelinquished blankie, Sherry doesn’t put her cherished novels down until the last page is coddled and absorbed. I lose my wife for a few days, and then I get the summation. Oh the summation. You can’t get a quick summation when a novel boasts thirty plus chapters, and a back cover touting something about “love, compassion, and self-discovery.” Ugh.

On the other hand, I read books about strategy, leadership, church trends, and Bible insight. Never do a church growth book and fat novel meet on my desk. Never.

Then came Sherry and my 23rd wedding anniversary. And there it was; a novel with a mushy card and a quote from I Corinthians 13. Oh man… my type A world was about to clash with the sappy emotions of a novel sporting a back cover questioning, “Would he ever be wanted? Would he ever be loved?” Ugh.

I told Sherry I would include the book on my study break reading list. That seemed to work, but my intentions were not the best. I didn’t expect to actually read my novel gift entitled “Castaway Kid.”

This morning, an offshore storm blew in and kept me from my regular beach routine. I drove into town and juiced up with a cup of coffee and free internet at Panera. After reading through Ephesians 3:1-13, I remembered a Rob Bell sermon that Chris Case had mentioned. I listened. I highly recommend it.

From the 23rd Psalm, Bell talked about the soul… the Hebrew word is “nephesh.” Nephesh also alludes to breathing. Bell did an excellent job at connecting pace of life, stress, and the recovery of soul with breathing. Deep breathing. Allowing God to put His rhythm back into us. Loved this line: “We become seduced by religion that even tells us what we need… and that being somewhere else. But God restores my soul. Everything I need is right here.” BREATHE!

I decided to read my anniversary novel for a change of pace. I wondered if it would help me breathe a bit. It did. I read from front to back (it only had about a two inch girth). I couldn’t put the darn thing down. There was even a bit of my own coddling and absorbing. Wow. At risk of being harassed by younger, testosterone driven staff, I admit this novel caused a very slight tearing no less than three times. It was a crazy story about an orphaned 3-year-old and his life long struggle to live past his past.

It really was a good read, and I gushed overtly to let Sherry know. I’m sure this gave me a great push of momentum towards our 24th anniversary.

“Castaway Kid” did give my soul some breathing space. Instead of strategy, vision for 2011, and insight for God’s Church and CCC, my reading today built into me. God seemed to smile on my day, and remind me how often Sherry models peace and quiet confidence. Sherry… the one who reads novels instead of strategy books. Go figure.

I also bought a bottle of wine to enjoy an evening toast on the beach. I ran to a little Earth, Wind, & Fire. Tonight is the Scott’s annual midnight breakfast. More breathing for my nephesh.

Thanks God for a good day. The storm has passed, and tomorrow I’ll get to Rob’s recommended book, “The Hole In Our Gospel.”

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