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Friday, May 1, 2009

Love Letter

Mortimer J. Adlerin his classic, How to Read a Book, makes this observation:

“The one time people read for all they are worth is when they are in love and are reading a love letter. They read every word three ways. They read between the lines and the margins… Then, if never before, or after, they read carefully and in depth.”
My son Blake has been out of the country since January 4th. He doesn’t have access to the Internet very often, so we are always excited to talk to him on Skype. Generally, the Internet connection isn’t strong enough for video chat, but we get to instant message. Sometimes he gets access to the Internet when we are unavailable, and he will send us a quick e-mail.

While these are not the kind of “love letters” Adlerin is referring to, I love and miss my son so much—I simply devour his notes. It would be embarrassing to admit how many times I read Blake’s e-mails. I read them at least three times immediately (not kidding) and will re-read them many times until we hear from him again. The first time, I read very quickly to make sure he is okay. Then I read slower, looking closely at the details. I examine every phrase, looking for the emotion behind the words—wondering if he is happy or overwhelmed. By the third time I read, I can hear him saying the words and imagine the look on his face.

After considering how I read Blake’s e-mails, I had to ask myself, Do I read God’s Word with the same intensity? Do I read every word—reflecting on what I learn about God and seeking to understand what He expects of me? Do I allow His Word to examine my motives and penetrate my thoughts and attitudes? Do I read it often enough to allow it to renew my mind?

Hmmm. . . what a challenge! I can only imagine what my spiritual life would be like if I read God’s Word like a love letter. . .

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