My Thoughts

There is something utterly mystical and magical about opening a book for the first time. Like Forest Gump said, “My mama always said life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” The same mystifying moment occurs whenever you first break open a new book, you never know what you will find tucked inside. What mystifies me most is why so many seldom have the urge to break open the pages and discover the hidden treasure buried deep inside. Whether it is fiction or fact, science or science fiction, pulp or classic, verse or prose, each is a window that when opened can and will fascinate and enrich the mind through the simple act of reading.

I have mentioned it before, though elsewhere, so it bears repeating here. Every page I turn I discover something new, something I had never thought about before, a new perspective, a fresh idea, a marvelous adventure. Reading opens new vistas, new worlds of vivid imagination and marvelous insights. How dull it must be to never break open a book; how boring to sit staring into the sameness of every day; how flat the world when all are but shadows thrown upon a wall of a cave; how utterly sad it must be to be a life unread. I cannot imagine; I shudder at the thought.

As you may readily surmise, I am an unrepentant bibliophile. I generally have more than a few books in the process of being read. A bibliophile only has one serious issue to contend: too many books, not enough time. Like the Star Trek episode, The Trouble with Tribbles, I have discovered too late that books are highly promiscuous and like tribbles reproduce faster than the mind can ever hope to digest. And like the current virus, reading is highly contagious. Thank goodness it is rarely lethal.

Last evening, I picked up a recent addition to my over-reproductive library, The Romance of Religion: Fighting for Goodness, Truth, and Beauty, by my current favorite author, Dwight Longenecker. He introduces his book recalling how at an early age while he did not have any idea what he would do with his life, he had a very clear idea what he would not do. I liked that a lot, probably because in an odd sort of way it reflected my own thoughts. I say odd because while I also did not have any idea what I would do with my life, I also had no clear idea what I would not do. The reason for my indecisiveness was simply because so many things—in truth, everything with the exception of math—interested me, made me think, “I could do that!” or “I really enjoyed doing this!”

People have asked me how I have come to be able to do so many different things. Curiosity I suppose more than anything else. I simply cannot leave well enough alone. I have, out of necessity in most cases, become a jack of all trades and a master at none. At this time of quarantine and lockdown, masking and anti-social distancing (I find nothing social about distancing myself from my neighbor,) when it is no longer as easy as taking a quick trip to Walmart or Home Depot or the grocery store—it is now more trouble to leave home than it was when we had two kids in diapers, car seats and all the mountainous paraphernalia that comes with having kids—I find it easier to “just do it myself” and all that acquired know-how sure does come in handy.

And … I got most of that know-how from, you guessed it: books. I have even come to figure figures with a smile. Go figure!

Just my thoughts for a Wednesday, for what it is worth.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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