Ever since I started taking classes again, the amount of reading I did outside of school dropped significantly. I can hardly make myself read the necessary words required to earn a passing grade, let alone something that is for no other reason than inspiration and passion and concepts that challenged you.
I’ve made the resolution about 7 times over the last two years that I would pick up a book more often. And not one that coordinated with my lessons for the week.
And here we are, January 2016, and I’m failing at this goal yet again.
Until last night, that is. Okay, maybe it was this past weekend when I finally decided to turn off Netflix and open a book before bed instead of hitting “play next” again. I was already about halfway through one book, but in the interest of transparency, I was really just trying to finish it so I could start the book that has been sitting beside my bed for the last month-and-a-half.
So finally, last night I was able to pick up this long awaited book for the first time. It was just going to be a few chapters before I put it down and called it an early night.
But here’s the thing, I couldn’t stop. I didn’t want to stop. I didn’t even want to make myself try to stop.
I just kept reading and reading – soaking in every word and sentence and chapter after chapter.
I read three-quarters of the book last night. And I felt more alive and inspired and in awe than I had in months. Maybe more.
The book is not filled with complex concepts that take a mathematical formula to pick apart, but it is filled with truth and love and words that would resonate with anyone who took time to crack the front cover.
The chapters are short and the message is simple: we need love – we need people – we need each other.
I haven’t been able to get this book out of my head for the last 24 hours. There’s something among those pages that stirred something inside of me.
Stories. We all have stories. Our lives are filled with stories as we write one of our own. This book is filled with stories and lessons and experiences that simply say, “We’re all human. We all struggle. We all need each other. Let’s share our stories and do just that.”
The book is If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski, founder of To Write Love on Her Arms.
As I turned the last page, unable to fully believe that the book was over – with a few tears rolling down my cheeks, I longed for more. I wanted to hear more stories, more hope, more struggle, more redemption – more love.
It seems silly that such a simple concept could make such an impact. But I think that’s just the point.
“We are only asked to love, to offer hope to the many hopeless. We don’t get to choose all the endings, but we are asked to play the rescuers. We won’t solve all mysteries and our hearts will certainly break in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best way. We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until we’re called home.”
– Jamie Tworkowski
We are made to pour ourselves out again and again. There will be hurt and there will be pain, because, as C. S. Lewis said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable”. We are automatically opening ourselves up to the hurt that this world throws at us day after day. But we can still make the choice to love – to boldly step out, to admit that we’re wrong and that we’re broken, but that we all walk this same road together.
Oh, how I wish I could meet Jamie at a coffee shop somewhere drenched with the smell of salt water. I want to hear more of his stories. More about the things that led him to where he is today – that allowed him to simply say yes when an experience turned into a story turned into TWLOHA. Because we are all just humans, trying to give our best yes in the most broken of places.
“You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else. You will need other people, and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living breaking screaming invitation to believe better things.
We’re saying the story doesn’t end here, that the air in your longs is there for a reason. Perhaps we’re all in the business of better endings, you as much as us, the business of redemption.”
– Jamie Tworkowski