When I think about the people in my life with whom I’ve formed immediate connections, then intimate relationships, I see a common thread. They are readers. Yes, most of them are Christians, too, but there are lost of Christians in the world I don’t necessarily click with. And yet there are also people who don’t share my faith with whom I can bond over books.
I got to thinking about this—the brotherhood of readers—when I had my house sprayed for bugs the other day. I have that done regularly because I can’t stand the sight or even thought of a bug crawling around my house. (Can you tell I’m not really an outdoorsy kind of gal, either?) Anyway, the same company has been doing this for me for several years. The technicians are nice, hardworking people, but I’ve never really felt any connection with them other than the few moments they spend in my house four times a year.
So a new guy shows up at my door. Nice young man. (Well, younger than me, anyway.) He sprays the outside, then comes in. I ask him to do my office first since my husband is about to get on a conference call in there. When he comes into the living room (where I am working on my laptop), he says, “I noticed all your books. Who likes to read?”
I think I probably blushed. (The amount of books we own can sometimes prove embarrassing.) “My husband and I,” I answer. His face lit up as mentioned a particular author he’d seen on my shelves. Then he told me about the books by his favorite authors that he recently found at a flea market, and one given to him by a client. He tells me of the current novel that has grabbed his attention and his eagerness resonates with my own. His favorite genre isn’t one I particularly enjoy, but the writers he cited are known for writing well.
We connected as we talked. I asked his name. He said he looked forward to coming back. He’s an average Joe, probably with no more than a high school diploma. I don’t know knows the Lord or not. But he’s a reader. And I found myself thinking of him as my friend.