Our library had a summer reading program for adults. It was a contest to read a book and then watch the movie based on that book. One lucky reader would win a date night package of dinner and a movie. My husband first learned about it, and we decided it would be a fun thing to do together.
We went to the library on a Saturday and looked at the available books and movies. We wanted to avoid movies we had already seen and books with too many pages. We settled on The Accidental Billionaires, by Ben Mezrich. It’s the story of the founding of Facebook.
It’s an interesting book. And we thought the movie, The Social Network, was good.
I was not expecting to find grace.
I know. It’s weird. I couldn’t figure it out, at first. What about this book is filling me with grace?
I realized it had little to do with what was in the book. It was more about what was not in the book. It wasn’t a how to be a better wife, be a better parent, spend your money better or be a better Christian kind of book. It was just a story. A significant story, really, as Facebook has changed our culture. But at the end of the day, it was just a story.
When was the last time I just read and enjoyed a good story?
All of the how-to _______ (fill in the blank) books are good to read, don’t get me wrong. But, if that’s all I read, I tend to start making a mental list of things I’m not doing good enough. Pretty soon a book that was meant to challenge, encourage and inspire has inadvertently unleashed the swirling thoughts of judgement and condemnation. It’s not a place filled with grace.
It has been fun to read The Boxcar Children with my kids and start on The Chronicles of Narnia set I received as a gift last Christmas.
To welcome grace, we first need some breathing space. The mind needs to wander and imagine without the need to solve a problem or make a change.
So, grab a little book and lose yourself in a story. And like a geeky kid at Harvard who became an accidental billionaire, you might just find yourself stumbling upon an unexpected abundance of grace.