The Value of Rereading

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”

Oscar Wilde

I have learned the value of rereading books. Books that touched me, books that moved me to action. Changed my perspective.

The books don’t change, obviously, but I have. Every day. The passage of time and how I spend that time molds me every day.

I reach back to those books, revisiting a friend,  I see something new that I didn’t see before. Reading with new eyes. I reach out because I’m looking for something. Maybe just a feeling or an answer that has been alluding me. And I find it in the pages of my old friends.  Or my old friends show me what’s already inside me.

When I first read a book, I see the words,  I comprehend them. But without certain experiences I don’t understand them.  Every experience, every moment brings me closer to the words on the pages.

A book can serve as a mirror. I see in the pages what is inside of me at that time. Without certain experiences, without the necessary time certain passages go unnoticed. Until such time as when I have what is needed to truly see what is being said.

I’m reading what I’m reading now for the third time. I was in need, feeling lost, crying on the floor. Feeling helpless to do anything. I reached out to my friend.

Halfway through and I know what to do. I’m not out of it yet. But I have a mentor, I have the path, and most importantly the desire to move from where I am.

One of my favorite authors, someone who’s work I go back to often, says we forget 99% of what we read within two days. Maybe he’s right. But seeds are planted. I may not be able to recite paragraphs, but the seeds are there. And when the time is right, combined with the act of doing, they push through the earth and grow.

Thank you to the authors of these books. Thank you for agonizing over each sentence. Thank you for creating something that I can go back to, whenever, and see something that was there all along for the first time.

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