R is for Reading
New weekly musings inspired by the alphabet...
When it comes to choosing a topic for the letter R, there are a lot of choices. For this week's musings, I wanted to write about one of the big ones -- Racism or Reconciliation or Right Relations.
But it's one of those weeks. I don't have the time (or the brain space) to write what needs to be written with the care with which it needs to be written. That sentence is a bit muddy. Let me just say, if a white woman is going to write about racism or reconciliation or right relations, she's got to get it correct. She's got to write it right.
Instead, I'm picking the word READING for this week.
Books change perspectives. Books change minds. Books change lives.
Reading books by authors I didn't think I could relate to changed my spiritual life (and made it possible for me to do church work). Reading those books gave me a way to use my voice.
Reading books is the way I educate myself on racism, reconciliation and right relations. I live in a rural area and there's little diversity and opportunity to listen to others. Books are the easiest way for me to read a variety of voices.
I also love that buying books supports writers whose stories need to be told.
When I want to know something, I find a book. I read the perspective of the person who is actually living or has actually lived the experience. It can be fiction or non-fiction, but that's how I teach myself. For me, I need that voice inside my head, shaking me up, making me uncomfortable, making me cry, making me understand. Changing my mind, opening my heart.
I certainly haven't read enough books on racism, or books by diverse voices, but what I've read have been amazing and eye-opening and mind-expanding. A good book stays with you forever.
Kaitlin B. Courtice is a citizen of the Potawatomi Nation and a Christian, in the United States, and her book, Native, published in 2020. This is from her book:
"We live in a time when Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of colour are speaking up, sharing our stories, redefining what it means to be alive in America -- but let's acknowledge that many of these people have been speaking up for a long time and are only now being heard, if heard at all."
I have been changed by the stories I've read, by fiction like Michelle Good's Five Little Indians and non-fiction like In My Own Moccasins by Helen Knott.
The more you read, the more you know. The more you know, the better you do.
Oh, boy. Looking for examples on my bookshelf, I realize I haven't read as much as I thought I had. No patting myself on the back. There are so many books to read in so many genres, but my bookshelf certainly isn't as diverse as I thought it was. And I admit I read more Indigenous authors than any other.
There is no excuse for being ignorant about racism, reconciliation and right relations. There are now plenty of books to read, plenty of voices to hear, plenty of stories to welcome into your mind and heart. If you want to start somewhere, start with a book.
As they say, open a book to open your mind.