I have a library of women I can call on. With each turn of the page, their words console me. We have a lifetime of stories to draw from as we have shared secrets and tears along with laughter that fills our world with each prank, joke, or just plain fun. The cool part is, many are voracious readers.

A perfect example is a treasured friend that passed her love of books onto all the students she tutored in reading. Being diagnosed with polio at a very young age, her escape was found in volumes and volumes of books, especially the Nancy Drew mysteries. With each page, she taught herself to read daring herself to achieve what she though was impossible. All her dreams came true when she went to a teaching college, married, and had a child. The joy she found in books allowed her to light a path for the fortunate ones who she patiently nurtured, igniting a passion for learning.

In some cases, my friends knew me when I was in college in the early 70’s when hormones were raging! I remember distinctly a dog-eared book that everyone was reading. Everything You Wanted to Know about Sex and Were Afraid to Ask jolted me out of my red-faced naive world as my wide-eyed roommates gathered together in a circle to learn about of all things, anatomy and sex.

Curling up with a good book, especially when romance tips the scales, allows the loneliness to abate as my forlorn friend questioned whether she would find love again. Redeeming Love spoke to her as the main character was sold into prostitution. Overtime the character learned to trust again, allowing her heart to soften knowing God had a plan for her to find true love.

Sometimes we find the theme of our life in the pages of a book. Over a deep conversation, a special confidante recalls vividly the day she picked up a historical treasure, Sacagawea. Traded by her Shoshone tribe, Sacagawea’s life was filled with tragedy, adventure, sorrow, and hope. As she looked back on her life her words of wisdom resonate through the centuries, “My life has not been a matter of seasons and events but of opening and closings.” My confidante says these words are a definition of her life… a series of opening and closings and with each new opening, the beginning of a new day filled hope.

My favorite library is filled with a group of women I have played bridge with for over thirty years. They are like a good book that feeds the mind, and with each conversation, lifts you. Recently wrinkles have started to appear but the sparkle in our eyes is not diminished when we see each other or excitedly pull another novel off a shelf to share.  Recently we thoroughly enjoyed All the Light We Cannot See and The Nightingale. I think we were intrigued by the strong women as depicted in the characters as they struggled to survive and resist the German occupation during WWII.

A good book can point you in the right direction making you see things differently. One year a friend silently presented me The Ultimate Gift. It showed me how enabling had stifled our adult son’s growth as he had started sidestepping me to get what he wanted from his Dad. Learning from such gifts as work, laughter, friends, learning, family, giving gratitude, love, and even problems, a person can become productive and over time achieve their ultimate potential.

In my library of friends are the children, or now, the grandchildren, that crave the arms that love them as they anxiously listen to that one voice that sparks their imagination. With each book they get to fly to faraway places planting the seed of the passion to learn… to grow. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

I smile today as each book in my library is filled with the reflection I find in the faces of the women I love. They grace my world with their words and add color to the chapters of my life, with no end in sight.