Friday, August 14, 2009

Reading Into Someone Else's Life

Just for a few moments, if that's all it can be, I want to escape into someone else's life. Or perhaps, like Henry in The Time Traveler's Wife, I'll escape into my own life - past or future, and hopefully in a more carefree and happier time.

I am an English teacher, but with the exception of the required reading novels I reread every year (make that read to my students), I've not cracked open a book for my own personal pleasure (read: escape) in a mighty long time. With kids, work and, well, life, there doesn't seem to be enough time for me to just settle down to devour words that someone has carefully selected and weaved into a story.

Then the trailors promoting "The Time Traveler's Wife" movie kept causing my eyes to roam across the titles of carefully arranged, uncreased and untouched collection of my reading library shelves until they rested longingly at the copy of The Time Traveler's Wife I had set between several young adult novels I planned to preview and assign to students. Finally, with the kids either asleep or otherwise self entertained, I cracked open those crisp pages and began to read. And it felt good.

I find myself sneaking a page or two during naps, or whenever Ya is content doing whatever his constantly exploring brain has him doing. I carry the book to the pool. I took it to the doctor's and tried (unsuccessfully) to read it during my biopsy. And like a new appendage, it is next to me even now as I type these few lines and it beckons me to continue reading.

And as I read this chrono-confused novel, I can't help but think. What is going on in the novel is far removed from my own life, but I can relate to the profound, heart wrenching feelings of loss, the feelings (however brief) of contentment, and the feelings that overwhelm when the fleeting thing that is love takes hold.

Wouldn't it be nice to escape a stressful situation with a trip to some other place in time? To bound out of trouble and into a world where things are different? What would I give to see my father holding my toddler self, the two of us dressed in matching terry cloth sweat suits with our names embroidered on the chest? Or to be rescued from the side of the road on the New Jersey Turnpike by my Poppy who insisted that once my car was pulled away from the tree trunk it was backed up on, I should just get back in and follow him home? Or maybe I could travel into the future to confirm that my life has some special someone just waiting to discover I am his soul mate?

No, I wouldn't want to venture into my kids' futures, I want to discover what life has in store for them with fresh eyes... but my life? I'd love to know just what God has in store for me...

1 comment:

Shannon said...

I know what you mean! On all accounts! I have to LITERALLY make time to read! and making time has a very tricky recipe. I do have a book on my bedside table at ALL times and when I've finally finished with EVERYTHING else each day - I READ! Sometimes I fall quickly asleep after reading just a few short pages, but others i'm there - lost in someone's "life" (often ficticious) for an hour or more - and it feels GOOD! :) Enjoy your time reading for yourself! Let me know what you thought of the book - it's one I've yet to read!