Where would we be without books? And where would we be without the authors who wrote them? It hardly bears thinking where I would be. Without their inspiration and influence through the decades, I could easily have ruined my life. How often a timely word came when I was in danger of losing my way. Their words gave me direction. They fed my starving soul. They made me feel in the company of others. And sometimes they made me laugh out loud when comic relief was what I desperately needed.
I have no doubt about my being a needy soul. Ever since I could hold a book in my hands as a child, I have grazed my way through hundreds, perhaps thousands, of books. My commonplace notebooks are packed with the wisdom I gleaned from their pages. Sometimes when I had no words of my own, it was the life-giving words of others that kept me going.
In one book I read not so long ago, I came across a passage that caught up my breath. Belgian-American novelist, poet, and memoirist May Sarton wrote in Journal of a Solitude:
"But there always have been and always will be people who . . . are starved for nourishment. I am one of those readers and I am also one who can occasionally provide this food. That is all that really matters to me this morning." p. 68
"I am also one who can occasionally provide this food." I was startled by these words. I felt encouraged, and maybe, relief, to have this beautiful writer remind me that I am not only a receiver of nourishing words—occasionally, like May, I am also a provider of words that give life to others.
As writers we are in the business of nourishing hungry hearts. Our writing is not foolish or in vain. "Feed My sheep," Jesus once entreated Peter. That call passed down to those of us who are writers. We hope the words we speak will nourish. We yearn for the words we write—whether in blog posts, Medium articles, books, or other publications—to be a source of sustenance.
I whisper a prayer: Dear Lord, draw us to our laptops and desks. Stir our hearts. Give us words that are alive with divine hope, light, and courage. Nourish us that we may, in turn, nourish others. Let us be the ones who can occasionally provide food for famished minds and hearts.
That is all that really matters to me this morning.
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