Recently a friend sent me a book she picked up at an airport. She told me it made her laugh out loud on the plane – embarrassing her husband. “Enjoy it. It’s a good summer read,” she said.
What exactly is a “summer read?” A little googling informed me that “summer reads” are light so you can take them on vacation and not get caught up in the story in case you need to throw your book down and jump in the ocean waves or lake.
What if I want to read a “light” book in the dead of winter while sipping a hot cup of coffee near my fireplace? Can I only read heavy books (assuming that is the opposite of light books) after Labor Day but before Memorial Day?
And why read a book at all if you can’t get sucked into the characters and plot? Just grab your magazine when you head to the beach, pool or lake and flip through pictures and just skip any and all words.
Am I breaking a rule if I read a fun novel in January? Do the “no white before Easter police” ticket me if they catch me engrossed in a novel that won’t change my life?
“It’s a good summer read” sent me down a literary hole I didn’t even know existed.
I did read a life-changing book – when I was 10 years old. After reading the book, my battle cry for my life became, “stand in the wind and eat peanut brittle.” It was a reminder to be strong and face my fears and obstacles head on.
I shared my battle cry – my guiding motto of life – with a friend 20 years ago and she probed into why that was my motto and where it came from. When I told her it was a book a read when I was about 10 years old she asked me the name of it. I didn’t know the name of it. My friend challenged me to find out.
The next Monday afternoon I marched myself into the local library, went straight to the help desk and told the bespeckled woman I was looking for a book but I didn’t know the name of it – only a phrase and approximate date it was published.
“What is the phrase,” she asked.
“Stand in the wind and eat peanut brittle,” I replied.
She pounded on her computer keys. (For you youngsters who might be reading this, we didn’t carry a computer in our back pocket like we do today and google wasn’t a common word or action at the time.)
“Here it is! There is a book written in 1974 titled “Stand in the Wind.” It isn’t in publication any longer and we don’t have it,” the book lady said as she scribbled the title and author on a piece of paper.
I took the piece of paper, used my dial up network computer and found the book in a book repository in Kansas. EBay sold it to me and it sits on the same shelf as Jane Eyre and Gone with the Wind.
What the story is about isn’t important. In fact, it’s a little creepy. The parents take their young daughters to the summer cottage but have to go back to the city for an emergency and leave the four pre-teen girls at the cottage by themselves for three days. No phone, no car and no money. What?
But that isn’t the point of the book. I’m not real sure what the point of the book is but I do remember one of the girls was afraid of her shadow – and storms. Standing on a cliff in the middle of a horrible storm with hands outstretched eating peanut brittle was the moment she overcame her fears. She yelled into the wind. She stood firm. She overcame.
Throughout my life, I have faced storms head on. I never yelled into the wind or ate peanut brittle but I did stand firm. I stood on the solid rock of the Lord. I feasted on His Word. I guess you could say my peanut brittle is my faith. The Bible is full of encouragement, wisdom and guidance.
I’ll be honest; there have been times in my life when my Bible gathered dust on a nightstand. Those seem to be the times my faith seemed shaky or flat.
Now, more than ever – in these times of division, unrest and uncertainty – I need to be grabbing my proverbial peanut brittle – God’s Word – to face the wind of the unsettling forces swirling about us these days. Only there will I find peace.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? 2 Samuel 2:32
How about you? How do you face the storms of life?
Also, what are you reading this summer? I’m reading a lot. Some good “summer reads” and some I guess I should be saving until the weather turns.