Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happiness between the covers

How could they not see the changes I was undergoing. As I look back from here...a place so many years removed from that season of my life, it seems so apparent. The little boy who laughed and played. The best friends from grade school-Mike, Dennis, Shirla and Margaret. I can still see them in my minds eye...playing at Old Farmin school. Running. Jumping rope. Doing the things that kids do. But as the fourth grade ends and as I move onto fifth, I'm no longer that happy little boy. Something has changed. Have I have changed? The loneliness is nearly oppressive. It seems like I no longer fit in with any of the groups. It's a new school and there are kids there from the other elementary schools in town. They are mostly the town kids, and they stick together. Their friendships seem to be cemented with a glue that will never lose its strength. The friendships that I thought that I had are broken, lost...somewhere now only a distant memory.

I know that today, teachers would notice something different about me. A lost look. A withdrawing from those around me. They would talk to me, or talk to my parents. But it was a different time...a different world. The teachers can't be blamed...they had no way of knowing the pain I felt...the loneliness that encompassed my life. But as time went on, I discovered ways to take away the loneliness. At first, it was by productive methods. I discovered books. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Walters, had given me a gift that I still have today...a love of reading. I found that I could escape and be surrounded by incredible people in the pages of the book in my little hands. I would lay for hours in my bed, transporting myself into the adventures, into the places far away. The places always happier than where I was then. The homes nicer, the people friendlier. Parents who seemed to show their love for their kids. There were real friendships in the stories, and I longed for that so much. It seemed that I could never hold on to a real friendship...just when I thought I found a friend for life, something would happen. Most often, they moved away, and we would lose touch. Some of those people, I still think about, dream about...wondering, "what if?" What if we had been able to remain close, friends to the end? Would there have been someone there that I would have trusted with my deepest secrets? I will never know. I beleive that the answer is, sadly, probably a big NO. People will always fail us in some way, even those who love us. The Bible tells us that in words, and life tells us that through experience.

Books were my best friends for several years. The characters and places became all so familiar. I can see how kids, and adults alike, can fall in love with books like Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings. The stories are filled with the things that we yearn for. Relationships. Courage. Adventure. Trust. My lifeline was made up of the books that would arrive in the mail at the beginning of summer from the Scholastic book club, enough of them that they would carry me through the summer until the next school year, and a new library. It seemed that my life was somewhat whole when I found myself between the covers...of the book.

1 comment:

Deb said...

This we had (and still have) in common. I've always said books saved my life. Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, Black Beauty, Pippi Longstocking. I love them with a passion that's difficult to love real people with.

I love your title here. You have a great knack with titles.

Why were you new to Farmin? Or did I read wrong? I thought we all went there from the time we moved to Sandpoint, which was when I was in second grade.

It's so cool, and more than a little unsettling to read your childhood. Please don't worry about offending or hurting. This is your story and I want to hear every word of it. The light you shine on your own life, brightens mine as well.