Our lives have themes.
Things that repeat.
Sometimes they are lessons that repeat until we finally get a handle on what we need to learn, we go through that “feedback loop from hell” until we make different choices.
Other times we have things that just work for us.
So we keep doing them.
Reading books is one of those things for me.
Ever since I could put words together I have loved the act of reading, and there were times in my life when books were the closest thing I had to a best friend.
(My childhood social skills left something to be desired)
But books have always been a part of my life, it’s not uncommon in a conversation with me to get talking about some book or another about some idea or another.
There was one book though that turned a corner for me.
I was in sixth grade.
I still had a hard time socially. (I didn’t figure out social hierarchies and such until 8th or 9th grade)
It was book fair time.
The book fair tends to coincide with Parent Teacher Conferences. This is no accident. I always knew that if I had a good report from my teachers my parents would often let me pick a book from the book fair.
And I had my eye on one book in particular.
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
I had never heard of this book prior to book fair. I still didn’t even know a thing about what the story was, I didn’t know about the characters or that is was a work of historical fiction.
I didn’t know any of that.
All I knew was that as my class was wandering through the aisles of books my teacher pointed it out and said to us, “this book is probably too hard for any of you to read.”
Typically at that age my Parent Teacher Conferences went extremely well.
So I knew that book was going to be in my hands soon.
Which is exactly what happened.
And I set about reading.
And I was transported to the past, as I had been so many times before, and the big surprise was that the book was not any more or less difficult than many I had read up to that point.
I had read much more difficult books in my life.
But it was in that moment that I realized that there were people in my life that severely underestimated my potential.
There were people in my life that severely underestimated my tenacity.
There were people that did not have any idea what it was I could do.
And I squared my shoulders and started walking a little taller, it didn’t mean that people did not continually underestimate me.
But I knew I could do more and be more than most people thought.
And here I am thinking about that book, and that turning point, and how something so small has had such a big impact.
And I can only marvel at the fact that words on a page altered the direction of my life so powerfully.