Among her many wonderful qualities, my mother genuinely loved reading. Growing up, we always had books in various places around the house. I was the opposite, only reading when it was absolutely necessary for a school assignment. For me, the experience of reading a book was comparable to going to the dentist (honestly, I probably would have preferred that). I’m always so envious now when my friends recall the countless hours they spent escaping into magical places their books took them.
A few weeks ago, I was at the library when I stumbled across “Marley and Me” by John Grogan. A flood of emotions came over me when I saw this book. On the surface, it’s a story about how a faithful dog taught a family what really matters in life. In my case, it was about a promise I made to my mother.
Shortly before she passed away, my Mother gave me a copy of “Marley and Me” and asked me to read it. I brushed her off, saying that I just didn’t have time for it. She insisted that I needed to slow down and start taking some time for myself. Reluctantly, I took the book and promised her that it would be the first book I read when the time was right.
Several months later, I did read that book, as promised, and learned the many lessons Mom was hoping it would teach me. That one book, that one tender story, jump-started an unexpected love for reading. I’m sure she would be surprised to know what that book meant me. It was the reason that I started a book club (still going strong 15 years later). It also led me to volunteer at our local library, and to the enjoyment of the many books I have read since that time.
A new habit or passion can easily start with one step. In my case, it was just slowing down and keeping a promise I had made.
“The journey of a life starts with the turning of a page.”—Rachel Anders