I am fairly vibrating with anticipation today. As giddy as a kid on Christmas Eve. The reason for my excitement on the very day of the week which typically finds me slogging through in slow motion? I get to go to a book discussion group tonight. Not just any book discussion group but one that is near and dear to my heart. A group of women with whom I used to meet on a regular basis. Some of the faces have changed over the years but the point of the group hasn’t. A chance to get together with fun people and discuss a common interest: fiction. I’d forgotten about it for a good long while and it may seem strange that I’m rejoining now, shortly before my family moves away, but I realized today just how much I need this. How much I really have missed it.
The birth of Fiction Lover’s Forum (shortened to the affectionate name of “FLuF”) was the brainchild of a dear friend of mine eight or nine years ago. She noticed that many of the women in our church were passing around books to each other and on any given Sunday or Wednesday night you could find many of these women standing in the hall talking about those shared books. ”Why don’t we start a group?” she asked. After asking around to see if there would be an interest in a book club group she did just that. For several years my friend, a voracious reader, composed a list of books: one per month. No – not a list of “churchy” books. (You know the ones: someone has a tragedy, finds God or gets closer to Him, their faith is strengthened and everyone lives happily ever after.) She chose books from all over the spectrum of fiction. Some Christian authors, some non. Some easy to ready, some took a little more thinking. All of them generally lead to lively and fun discussion. (When we stayed on topic of course.) It was great monthly fun for several years. A chance to form friendships and spend a night out with other women. A truly good time. As life usually works, though, it got a little tougher to find a time when everyone was free. Eventually the meetings became sporadic. Then infrequent. Then the unthinkable happened: my friend, the founder of the group, decided to move across the country. Our little band of merry readers disbanded for a while.
Because I missed it greatly I talked to a couple of the other ladies and we decided to restart the little “FLuF” group. Once again we set a monthly meeting and took suggestions for books everyone might like. Things were back on track and I was quite happy about that. Eventually though, for me, life started getting in the way. My husband began working two full-time jobs. (Yes – full-time 80-90 hours a week.) My son became a senior. I began meeting myself coming and going. I decided that I needed to take a little sabbatical from FLuF. I told myself it wasn’t a big deal because it would only be for a short time. That was three years ago. I didn’t even realize how much I had missed it until last month when we were decorating the church for Christmas and I was standing with some ladies who were discussing which book to read for January. It hit me that in a very few months I will be gone and won’t have the opportunity to hang out with these women again. That made me deeply sad. It also motivated me to make the time to go. I opened my mouth and re-invited myself to the group. After their initial look of shock I was welcomed back like the prodigal reader I have been.
Tonight is the night we are meeting and I can hardly wait. I’ve rediscovered the joy of having the chance to hang out with other women. I’ve also rediscovered the joy of reading for no other reason than to read. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy that. I’ve continued to read of course, but I didn’t realize that lately it has been reduced to blogs, magazine articles, newspapers and an occasional short story thrown in here and there. What a joy to sit down last week with a book. A real book with pages that turn and everything. I’ve rediscovered the importance of making time for things that have no true purpose other than being fun. I’m so glad I have.