Tuesday, October 12, 2010

FallBlogChallenge2010 - What Book Continues to Have the Biggest Impact On My Life

Source: http://www.artofthestate.co.uk/photos/east_finchley_tube_station_archer.jpg

Was there a book you read or was read aloud to you that you have always remembered or that has impacted your life? Tell us about the book and why it touched you so deeply.
Source: Melanie Holtsman, Once Upon A Teacher: Are You Ready for A Challenge? and list of blogging topics

"Yol bolsun! May there be a road!" cries out Mathurin Kerbouchard, one of Louis L'Amour's main characters in The Walking Drum. Wow, what a tremendous tale that left my hand yearning for a tulwar's hilt, a keen saracen dagger in my belt, and a beautiful Ayesha as an Arabian thoroughbred to ride the river with.

When I reflect on the books I've read--quite a few from my time as a 6th grader suffering culture shock in an American private Catholic school, having just arrived from the Republic of Panama--I'm amazed, not at the volume of books, but the great ones I've read. Stephen King, Louis L'Amour, and a million others found their way into my hands, and I've easily read them several times each. But there are several touchstone books I keep coming back to.

Of this select group of titles, I have to confess that Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet (note this link is to the ePub version for eReaders) has lessons for me each time I read it, whether online or in print format.

For example, at a time when I am dis-satisfied with the work (anything, not just "work work,") I take a moment to review his words on Work:
Work is love made visible.
And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.

Gibran's work, which I've read in its original Spanish (wink) as well as English. In fact, one of the most tender moments between man and book included my encountering of a Kahlil Gibran book in the discard pile of my godmother's house. Though "El Vagabundo" (The Vagabond) never ended up being one of my favorite Gibran titles, it certainly fueled the sense of ethereal magic that Gibran lent all his works.

As a parent, I find myself diving into Gibran's work again, quoting these words as we contemplate the reality of a child leaving home for college in a couple of years:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

I have to admit that I love the last two lines of Gibran's The Prophet "On Children." Even as he loves the arrow that flies, so he loves also the bow that is stable. What a wonderful reminder of what our duty is as parents.

So, if I had to point to ONE book that I would give to my children to read, it would be Kahlil Gibran's THE PROPHET. Though there are many wonderful books, The Prophet is rich with distilled wisdom gently conveyed.

An Invitation to Participate: Contribute your own blog posts to Melanie's Fall 2010 Blog Challenge and be sure to tag your entries "fallblogchallenge2010" and send her a tweet! Thanks for the heads-up from Dr. Scott McLeod

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1 comment:

Melanie Holtsman said...

Wow - with the recommendation that you would want your children to read this book over any other you read...I will have to check it out! Thanks for jumping in on the challenge!

Genuine Leadership #4: Gratitude