In Lieu of Loneliness

marian - westport, Ireland
Entered on November 18, 2008

This I believe.

In Lieu of Loneliness

I believe that books can make a life.

I believe that all children should have access to books and time to read them. I read many books as a child, under the covers with a flashlight. Those books transported me from a somewhat hectic household, to a new and magic place, where I felt secure.

I tell my children that while they will only get toys at Christmas, I will buy them books whenever they ask. The book bill in our house is high. The joy of seeing my children learn to read and then becoming lost in a book, oblivious to all else, is without doubt an unending blessing. Last summer, I watched my eight year old son recline in the ample branches of the hundred year old Sycamore, my grandfather planted. His arm behind his head, one leg flung over the other, and a book in his hand. In that moment he was utterly content.

I believe that at some of the most difficult times in my life, books have saved me. Throughout a troubled teenage time, during a lonely run in boarding school, and later, in myriad situations, where I could have, and often did, take the wrong turn. Books were always my salvation and whether they were fiction or nonfiction mattered little; only the one in my hands at any given moment mattered.

I believe absolutely, that books educate, enliven and enrich my life at every turn. When I married and had children, my husband worked away all week. I thought on many occasions, that I would lose my mind. I did. In books. Having been ambitious, I never saw myself as a stay at home mom, but it came to pass, and along with it, a lesson in life. Things can flip on a sixpence, and that was my life being flipped. It was in fact, a privilege to be with my two children, and funnily enough, no matter how tired I am at evenings end; I switch on some radio and pick up my book. These days I wear reading glasses, which add a small burden to the paraphernalia of reading; I put up many miles walking around the house looking for them.

In drawing up the plans for a new house, my husband and I ceded space that we really could not afford, in order to have in our home a modest library. It will be small and cosy, and a room without distractions. One can of course, read anywhere, but I see this as a tribute to all the books I have loved and all the books, surely yet to come.

I thank all writers from Tolstoy to Dr.Seuss, for the gift of books, and I believe that books liberate my mind every day, and set me free from staid and stifling thoughts. There is less to loneliness with a book in hand.