To read part 2 of this reading streak saga, click here… Now onto part 3!
June came, and with it a brief four day foray into the book of Mark. My church had just put on The Mark Drama, and after 6 weeks of memorizing the structure of Mark and talking about Mark and then rehearsing and performing over an intense weekend, it was finally over. Post-production blues had definitely hit, and I was glad to spend just a few more days in the company of this Gospel with Mum. The only reason we read it was because that particular day, Mum had a migraine and we couldn’t find our other book option. So instead, we lay in the dimness of her room, and read Mark. It was a very good call. Mark was always a very special gospel to me because of performing The Mark Drama with my church, but reading it with my Mum just added to the precious memories I have associated with the book.
This was the book that brought me through my graduation. Finally, finally, finally! It seemed as if the 6th of July would never come. As I pushed to finish high school, it was a blessing to take 10 minutes of my otherwise jam-packed days and head out to the African bush in my imagination. I would wash dinner dishes Mum read to me, the clamour of my younger siblings on the trampoline floating in through the open door. It was summer by the time this book finished, and we read the last chapter with me in Dublin airport and Mum back at home. With graduation over, the countdown to university was getting lower and lower, and I was headed on a long-anticipated weeklong mission trip to Ireland…
This book will always be inextricably intertwined with Ireland for me. We started this book whilst I was away on my mission trip in that beautiful country full of warm-hearted people that so desperately need the gospel. I would sneak out after team meetings in the evening and sit on the pavement outside the church where we were staying, listening over the phone to Mum read Elliot’s words of wisdom regarding all things womanhood. Or I would perch outside on a windowsill in the fresh morning air, taking 10 minutes to listen to Mum read before the day’s activities started. I’ll confess it was often a struggle to concentrate on what she was reading. My heart and mind were full with the laughter and fellowship that our team shared during that week, but also burdened by the need that we were faced with when doing outreach among the community. I would often have to shake myself out of my wandering thoughts and focus my brain on what Mum was reading to me – after all, it was valuable stuff!
We were down to the last month before I left home… What a month it was! We read Screwtape amidst the busy-ness of it all – a graduation trip to London to see a show in the West End, a goodbye open house where 80 odd people showed up. I also worked a 50 hour work week, packed up my entire life into 3 boxes and 2 suitcases, and went to a youth camp for a few glorious, frantic days. This was a month of transition and change and goodbyes. It was nice to have the anchor of reading with Mum through it all. Every day was one less day at home… But every day also brought a few precious moments to hide ourselves away in my bedroom and read a little bit more about Screwtape and Wormwood. Mum and I both were captured by the genius of this book and encouraged by the wisdom it revealed.
We read this little book over the last few days before I moved into college, during the trip across the ocean and the manic few days shopping and prepping and unpacking and repacking. To be very honest, my memories regarding this book are few. I know it was a punchy and impactful read. But there is only so much your brain can retain when you have moved 5000 miles across the ocean and are just about to step into the new adventure called university.
This I do remember… We finished this book late at night, curled up on an air mattress at my grandparent’s house. The light was bright and I was tired after a busy day. It was a typical scene for us – one that had played out many times during our reading sessions over the past few months.
But this time was different. When Mum read the last page and shut the book, we sat in silence for a moment. We both knew that it was the end of an era. The next day I would move into university, and we would say goodbye. She would fly home, and I would begin my life as a university student. We were standing on the edge of a threshold, and I would be the one to take the step across it, leaving her behind.
She prayed for me that night. I don’t remember exactly what she said. But I do remember her arms around me, holding me close.
Thus ended our 387 day reading streak – over a year without missing a day of reading together. I had no idea when we started reading that hot August afternoon in 2018 just how impactful our reading streak would be for our relationship. We spent a year together in the company of books – stories and wisdom, poetry and gospel. The words that she read to me did more than just entertain and educate me – they served to knit our hearts together in a special and unique way.
So here’s to my precious Mama and the 387 days in a row that she read to me – each book we read was a joy, but the time we spent together was the far greater gift. ❤
I’d love to hear any thoughts you might have regarding this reading streak! Have you ever done anything similar? Let’s chat in the comments!