I am taking part in Yummy Mummy in Training’s Blog Every Day in August challenge.
Day 20 is: You Need to Read This.
I deliberated about this post for ages. For days, I’ve been seeing it coming up and thinking, ergh, what do I tell people they need to read? Do I tell them something personal they absolutely have to know about me? (there is nothing); Do I choose a newspaper or journal that reports cutting edge stories and politics? (how would I know which one that is when I rely on the BBC website for my news?); Do I tell people they need to read my blog in an ever-so-clever twist on the theme?
And then, right at the last minute, it came to me.
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
The first time I came across this book, I didn’t realise it was this book. A local boy committed suicide when I was a teenager, and his mother wasn’t religious. When his death was announced in the local paper, she quoted The Prophet:
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.
At the time, I remember reading the passage over and over again, trying to figure out what it meant. When I finally understood, it was a real moment of clarity for me.
Years later, a friend gave a copy of The Prophet to my then boyfriend for Christmas. He wasn’t massively into reading, but since it looked like a quick, easy read, I read it. When I found this passage again, I instantly recognised it.
The book was written in 1923 by Gibran, a Lebanese writer. Amazon refers to it as “a timeless masterpiece” and apparently it was very big in the 1960s. Don’t let any of these points put you off though; at the end of the day, it’s just a really nice read. Philosophical. Kind of like reading the Bible, without all that religion business, if you get what I mean.
I find that in times of unrest or trouble, this book helps to calm me. I love to pick it up and read either one chapter on its own, or the whole book from cover to cover as it’s only a short one.
I read it when my dad died, when I had my breakdown, and last year when my life seemed in such a mess… but I’ve also read it when nothing particularly huge was going on in my life; I just felt a bit like I’d lost my way.