I’ve been enjoying a certain kind of book lately. These are compilations that include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and so forth. They have been inspiring, practical, supportive, and met the needs of my temporary short attention span. Life has been changing rapidly for me lately, you see. And I haven’t had my usual focus. In fact, I feel pulled in so many directions that I’ve had to do special kinds of self-care just to push back and preserve my priorities.
Here are three such compilation books I own. The first two have been especially valuable for me lately. They are always near my reading chair, and I even carry them around with me. Not both at once, heh heh. Not saying I tried. Or that I didn’t try.
This is an LDS book, satisfactorily thick. It contains LDS writings, classic literature and poetry, and more. From journal entries to public speeches, it’s a great way to spend short periods of time reading about all things related to charity, defined here as Christlike love.
Another compilation with many spiritual (and religious!) writings included. Elizabeth Goudge was Catholic, I believe, so many Catholic writings are included. I checked this out of the library recently following the passing of my mother. Because it was a such a thick book I never got through it and had to return it. I bought my own copy.
This was the one that first exposed me to the idea of these fat satisfying volumes. It was a gift from my brother and served us well when the children were young. From silly to serious, mythical to inspiring, it had offerings that met every day’s mood.
The Book That Lived
One of the thoughts that comes to me is an observation of how books have depreciated as rapidly as they have. I have a pretty tight budget, and being able to get these kinds of books for $5 has been a huge blessing. Nevertheless, I do sort of mourn the loss of value for these as reflected in their monetary cost. Overall I am simply grateful that they are available, and that at this point in time, their reduced costs works entirely to my advantage.
I may never have owned these books if I had had to pay much higher prices. I don’t know; years ago, I pre-ordered the hardback editions of the Harry Potter series. Of course, that was before the 2008-2009 financial crisis that continues to affect my family to this day. Books like these ones feel like friends. They feel like verbal chocolate. They have been a comfort and support during difficult times.
This is one example taken from Pure Love.
Joseph F. Smith is discussing what he calls “the courage of faith”. He quotes from Ephesians 6:13, and then goes on from there:
“…”Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
“After we have done all we could do for the cause of truth, and withstood the evil that men have brought upon us, and we have been overwhelmed by their wrongs, it is still our duty to stand. We cannot give up; we must not lie down. Great causes are not won in a single generation. To stand firm in the face of overwhelming opposition, when you have done all you can, is the courage of faith. The courage of faith is the courage of progress. Men who possess that divine quality go on; they are not permitted to stand still if they would. They are not simply the creatures of their own power and wisdom; they are instrumentalities of a higher law and a divine purpose.”
In my personal situation, the challenge I face is not evil, but change, particularly natural, celebrated change. The passing of a loved one, with her release from suffering. The moving on of a grown child as she stretches her wings and experiences and explores the world around her. These are my loss, and my gain. They are my tears and my smiles. They are words, mute emotion, people, and books. So I appreciate having a phrase like ‘the courage of faith’ to cling to.