Oh, I know that strange pang that grows with the approaching end of a book. I read quickly because I want to know what's next, but then I slow down and savor because I don't want it to end quite yet. All too soon the book is done and I find myself floundering, disoriented. I want more of the same (assuming it's a good book) but I don't know how to leave the characters I've grown to love.
The other day I found myself between books. I had just finished The Shepherd of the Hills. I am also reading Heidi to Avery, so I've been in a very nature-ish mood when it comes to reading. I longed for more of that, but wasn't sure where to turn.
Should I take a tangent and explore something completely different? Should I re-read a favorite like Emily of New Moon? Oh, the agony of decision. And then, out of the blue, it hit me. I needed to read The Yearling. It was the strangest, most unaccounted for impulse. Never have I felt a strong desire to read it. (Well, I suppose that's not entirely true because I found it at a book sale long ago, bought it and tucked it away on the bookshelf for "someday.")
Turned out that "someday" had come. I climbed on a chair to reach the old volume which had labored through the years to develop that warm, inviting old-bookish scent which Little Miss simply adores. (This child does have her moments of perfection.) Snuggling under a blanket I began, and quickly found myself swept into the beauty of Rawlings' vivid, rich description of a Florida wilderness I'd never even thought about. I found my mind expanding with new thoughts and ideas just as Jody's own character grew and developed.
I felt an aching twinge of fellowship with Jody as he explored the woods in that first chapter, marveling at the beauty of creation and the swelling, pulsing birth of spring:
A mark was on him from the day's delight, so that all his life, when April was a thin green and the flavor of rain was on his tongue, an old wound would throb and a nostalgia would fill him for something he could not quite remember.
Oh, I know that ache, that throb for the something I cannot quite remember. Occasionally I catch glimpses of it. A scent on the wind reminds me. A flash of rainbow lightning surprises me out of the darkness. I carry on a brief conversation with a chickadee who, I like to think, assumes I'm another little chickadee. We chirp together and I marvel.
I grasp and yearn and crave, yet the complete picture of beauty is just beyond my reach. And then I remind myself that this feels familiar for a reason. I am made for this. I am made to find delight in beauty and complete satisfaction in the Creator of beauty. Like Jody, a mark is on me: I am chosen, chosen for beauty, chosen for God's glory. Therefore, in order to find complete fulfillment, I must remember. I must remember to keep my hand nestled in my Creator's hand. I must remember that His ways are pleasant and His paths are peace.
When I stray, I'm restless, floundering -- between books, if you will. I forget the remembering and I'm left with a throb of nostalgia for something I can't quite put my finger on. Until I return. Then I bury my head in my Savior's shoulder and He cups my chin, tilts my head and gently reminds me: There's more, honey. There's more! My eyes glisten with hope, and I remember.