Monday, May 16, 2016

What does your bookshelf say about you?

I get to go into a lot of people's homes and work in their own personal surroundings. It is a privilege I don't take lightly....they are allowing me, a stranger into their own private space. Usually out of necessity, not want for a new friend.

 I can tell a lot by their surroundings, but their book shelves are like a window into the inner domain of their hearts and minds, what is most important to them of all. Childrearing, gardening, mystery novels, cooking, Bibles, kids books....My newest client is no exception. 

He continues to be resistant to help, and I continue to be present with him, accepting him as he is. He wants me to leave him alone, so he barks out, "Why don't you go for a walk?" "Go find something to do!" What he really means is find something to do that does not include him. LOL 

I tour his house like its a museum and in some ways it is the remnants of his past life. A huge, robust and powerful existence it must have been. The art work that he, at one point chose, to hang on his walls is meaningful, beautiful. His dishes are made of pottery with matching pottery drinking glasses. Very unique....and that he was drawn to that rather than just some simple unbreakable bachelor-worthy Correlle ware... Says something to me. He cared about his surroundings. He hand picked beautiful things, he could afford to create a tangible quality environment for himself. His clothes are from REI, his underwear aren't just the "buy a bag" Hanes from Walmart. 

And his me his brilliant mind. A mind able to put various pieces together and create a whole. A brilliant scientific mind. I used those words with him and he blushed and turned away and said it wasn't true. I commented that if he came to my house, he would find the polar opposite of what is on his shelves. He chuckled. Progress!!! Math, physics, Freud, architecture, politics, nature, but nothing that would show an interest or a faith in something larger than himself. 

As I work with him, I see that his faith was in himself, his own abilities, in his own best thinking.....and now that has crumbled around him and he is left afraid, angry, and frantically trying to rebuild what has been lost, not knowing any other way. A couple days a week I get to go over and be a friendly face, a presence that expects nothing from him, that can step back and allow him to forge onward on his own, or be available if he "barks" for me. Lol 

What would your bookshelf tell me about you? 

If you all came to my house, I have a room filled with books. Even when we lived in our tiny little house, I had books everywhere. The dad built beautiful built in book shelves for me on each side of our wood stove. That little much good living took place there. The kids were little, I homeschooled there, that wood stove was our only heat source and we were never cold in the winter. We used a swamp cooler in the summer and it kept the living room cool. We used fans in the was simple and good. That house only had a bath tub when we first moved in...I loved it all and didn't want any central heat and air, the bath tub was fine...but I was in the minority. Lol Soon we had a shower. 

Today we have a much larger house, and my books are all wedged in their shelves and stacked on window sills, in the room we call "the big room." I have some children's literature that I just can't part with, because someday I WILL have grand children!! Elsa Beskow was my favorite, Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl, Laura Ingalls Wilder. Loads of recovery books, books that nurture and teach about my faith, daily readers, novels, gardening, how to roof your house and build stone walk way books, how to raise chickens, how to knit, how to parent, how to be married, books about sex, books about dyslexia, famous artists, photographic journals, books about death and dying, how to train your dog, books about essential oils, cooking, hiking, running, diet and exercise, massage...on and on and on I could go. My friends come over and love to go in there and look through everything. Lol You can look around on my book shelves and know my passions immediately. Know who I am, what makes me tick, what is important to me. 

So tell me about your book shelves. What would I find if I could come and see you in your element? Surrounded by the things you love? 

Lord, bless us all with the knowledge of you, exactly where we are at this moment. 


Anonymous said...

This is a really interesting, thought provoking post. Sadly, in my house you would not find a lot of books. I have about 20 books thrown on the floor in my bedroom that I've been meaning to read for years. I used to be an avid reader when I was younger. Between work and dealing with addictions (ex-husband, son, daughter) I have found I have a hard time concentrating when I try to read. Your post and that beautiful picture remind me what a wonderful gift that would be to myself to start enjoying that again. I'm going to start a renewed effort to start enjoying that again.

And I love your outlook on your newest client ... what a beautiful way to look at him, his life and his situation.

You teach me a lot. Oh yes ... I also had to google "swamp cooler".


Liz said...

I love this room! It is so beautiful! Peaceful and tranquil.. I just want to sit in there and read with a cup of coffee.
I love to read and I read every single day... all kinds of books, however... when I'm done with my books, I drop them off at the library for donation or I give them away... I don't hold on to them. I'm weird that way.. I'm not one for holding on to stuff... but If I was, I would have a room just like you!!!

Annette said...

Liz, I feel like I'm weird that I can't let go of anything. I do make myself, because I would be a hoarder if I didn't! LOL

Mark Goodson said...

Wow. What a book shelf! That's my heaven honsetly. Books and time to get lost in them. How cool and meaningufl.
I think my book shelf would say I like to read and am very unorganized...It took me 45 minutes to find the Tao Te Ching book I used in my last post...haha

Groundhog Girl said...

Great Room! If I had my wish I would be stuck in a wood cabin over winter all alone (with enough food and wood) and I would read til my eyeball wore flat. My bookcase aside from some diy, murder mystery and comedy novels would show that I have been working on myself for years. Self help books, diet books, how to be successful books, why he doesn't love you books and here I stand and think it is all for nought. I am still the same person and all these books have given me a path but I have been stuck in my same thinking for 25+ years. I think I have been looking for a miracle in the books when I needed to develop me. Sorry this has turned out quite a depressing comment, that wasn't the intention at the start. Trying to lift the mood.... I am a work in progress! Oh and sobriety books but in truth I hide those away, *blush* shame.

Lolly said...

You are such a beautiful person...inside AND out! That cranky old man has no idea how blessed he is to have you caring for him. I'm unable to do what you do. If a person snaps at me, my usual tendency is to snap right back at them. My bookshelves are filled to overflowing. Bibles (plural), books about walking with God, talking with God, finding God, Daily devotionals from many different authors, Alanon approved literature (although to be truthful I hate that about Alanon...only being able to use their sponsored material when healing can also be found in sooo many other books), gardening books, books of awakening, books about remembering wholeness and moving on and finding gratitude. Books on faith and comfort and joy. Books by Mark Nepo, Marianne Williamson, John Eldridge, Ann Voskamp, Sarah Young, Melodie Beatty. Reading is akin to breathing for me. I must have something to read every day. Books are stacked next to my bed on the night stand and on the floor. They are stacked in piles next to my laptop. I will borrow them out to people but I must have them back. I rarely give them away to anyone. It would be glorious to sit in that room of yours :)

Birdie said...

Your room is so inviting!

I have many of the same books you do. I have close to 450 books now. I LOVE to read and I keep my book because they are life giving.

That man reminds me of my biological father. An atheist who has had to fight his way through a life built on himself. Very sad.

FYI - There is a cool app called Sort It! that helps you catalogue your books. All you have to do is scan the title and it add it. It has paid for itself (about $6.00) because I am no longer buying books I already own!

Dad and Mom said...

Woodworking books, how to, plans, and tool mastery and instructions.

What does it say when you have an entire shelf of books on drug addiction?

Some of my books disappeared during the days of our son using. We have stores in KC called Half Price Books. They buy used and old books for cash. many of my books went there. Of course the bookstore would do NOTHING to stop things like take his name or search their records to see if my son had been seeking my books. Needless to say to this day I will not patronize that store, and many of my books came from there prior to my encounter.

Now the first thing I do when I get a new book I take a Sharpie marker and write on the inside cover, THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR SALE AND CANNOT BE BOUGHT, R. GROVER.

What would you think if you pulled books off my shelf and saw that?

Anonymous said...

I just took a good look at the shelves in my home. I see that they are full of framed family pictures and sentimental, beautiful things that people have given me over the years: crystal candlesticks, a pair of Chinese porcelain dragons, whimsical pottery animals, a teapot set, etc. Each object holds a special memory for me.....On the bottom shelf are library books. I'm always reading. I tend to like quirky fiction and memoirs the best. One stand-out book recently was "On The Move" by Oliver Sacks.


Annette said...

Mary, you are funny. Lol I hope you find something really wonderful to read!

Annette said...

Lolly! We are like long lost sisters. So many similarities!

Annette said...

Mark, I can spend a long time looking for a book too. I think we need a system! lol

Annette said...

Groundhog girl, your comment wasn't depressing at all. I had a therapist tell me years ago to just read a book, a novel, that would entertain me. Not teach me something. Every moment of our lives doesn't need to be spent trying to be better, or perform as a human being better. Sometimes we get to just be and enjoy where we are right then at that moment without it being perfect. (((HUG)))

Annette said...

Awww Holly, I have lots of those precious things too. Its hard to let go of that stuff, for me at least. I am going to check out your Oliver Sachs book. Im so glad you are here reading. I would love another phone call if you are ever interested. : )

Tori said...

Did you look at my book shelves when you were here? All of mine are about addiction and real estate and a few biographies and true crime stories and the mob. Joe and Tyler's are about business, how to make money, how to negotiate and computer's. Not very interesting! lol