© by Todd A. Sinelli

C.S. Lewis said, “We read to know that we are not alone.” This was a saying he would frequently repeat throughout the movie “Shadowlands.” We read to know that we are not alone.

Someone asked me the other day why I read. My first reaction was to give some fancy shmancy answer about it stimulating my mind or how it activates different cognitive recesses within my head. Then I thought about it some more and said, “I read to know that I am not alone.”

I also read to discover. Thomas Alva Edison said, “If we did all the things we were capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” Wise words from a wise man. Books are a portal to the unknown. If I venture into the biography section of a bookstore, I can learn about a man that had a puppet by the name of “Steamboat Willie” and an idea that he could appeal to the child in all of us. People laughed at him and he went broke five times attempting to realize his dream. However, this man persevered and simply kept on moving forward even when the future looked bleak. With his perseverance and belief that life’s greatest moments are yet to come he clung tightly to his dream. This dream became a reality and we have Disneyworld and the Magic Kingdom because of this man. His name was Walt Disney.

It’s been said that the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new land, but in seeing the same land with new eyes. Some say, it is sad that Walt Disney died before he got to see how large his dream became. Quite the contrary, it was because Walt Disney saw his dream before all of us that Disneyland continues to live on today.

I read to know. In his book “A Reason to Live, A Reason to Die,” John Powell says that the mark of an educated person is not their profession of knowledge but rather their admission of ignorance. When I pick up a book, the author becomes my teacher. Reading a good book let’s me know what the author thinks, believes, and aspires to do. When I feel like thinking, I ask Plato or Aristotle to chat with me. When I want to escape, I’ll grab Henry David Thoreau or Mark Twain. I read to get an understanding of how many of my forefathers have answered the great questions of life: Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? What am I supposed to do with my life? I read to know how others have struggled and learned. I read to know that many of the same questions have been asked and answered by those who have proceeded me. I read to form my own answer.

I read to be inspired. The story of Michael Jordan being cut from his high school basketball team and then blossoming into arguably the best player that has ever lived touches my soul.

I read to have hope. To read the Bible and know that God loves me and will not let anything happen beyond what he ordains, this gives me comfort when times are bad. To learn about Helen Keller being blind; yet, being able to see the world with an amazing perspective, this gives me an understanding how God can use all things to work together for our good and His glory. She poetically reminded us that, “the best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” Or as Paul wrote, “What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

I read to learn. Books about Hitler and the Holocaust teach me about the evil that one man can manifest. Books about Rosa Parks and civil rights teach me about the change one women can do. Through evil, I learn the power of good; through sickness, the value of health; and through pain, the appreciation of endurance.

C.S. Lewis said, “We read to know that we are not alone.” I agree. We can discover and learn that many people accompany us on this journey called life. Grab a book and let Thomas Edison teach you about discovery. Challenge your mind and let Plato expand your thinking. Or, pick up your Bible, and let God remind you that He will never leave you, nor forsake you.

I guess that if I did not take time to read, I would never know about how much there is yet to learn. If I did not read, I would not understand how we are all different; yet, very much the same. If I did not read, I would miss experiencing the richness of the greatest stories every told, as told by their authors.

Thanks C.S. for reminding me why I read. I now know that I am truly not alone.