This week's question didn't pertain to me, so I went back and chose another week instead.
This Friday's Question:
I am a pretty emotional person to begin with so that kind of throws off the scale in terms of being "emotional while I read." I would say that I do get VERY emotional when I read. I really get into some stories and when the book is over, I have a hard time getting over the book. I go into a "book mourning" period sometimes and it takes a couple of days for it to pass until I'm ready to pick up a new book.
My all-time favorite book, as of today, is The Time Traveler's Wife. One of the reasons why I love this book so much is because of how it related to my life when I read it for the first time. At that point in my life, my boyfriend at the time (who is now my husband), was serving overseas in the Peace Corps for 2+ years. We were still together, but anyone who has ever been in one will attest to the intense challenges of a long-distance relationship. When I read the book for the first time, I would sympathize with Clare because she was always the one left behind. In my relationship at that point with Adam, I was always the one who stayed behind while he went off on his various adventures.
Here are the first couple of lines from the book:
It's hard being left behind. I wait for Henry, not knowing where he is, wondering if he's okay. It's hard to be the one who stays.
I keep myself busy. Time goes faster that way.
I go to sleep alone, and wake up alone. I take walks. I work until I'm tired. I watch the wind play with the trash that's been under the snow all winter. Everything seems simple until you think about it. Why is love intensified by absence?
Long ago, men went to sea, and women waited for them, standing on the edge of the water, scanning the horizon for the tiny ship. Now I wait for Henry. He vanishes willingly, without warning. I wait for him. Each moment that I wait feels like a year, an eternity. Each moment is as slow and transparent as glass. Through each moment I can see infinite moments lined up, waiting. Why has he gone where I cannot follow?
Those words just pierced my heart the first time I read it because it was almost exactly how I felt when Adam left.
I will never forget how I stayed up watching the sun rise while finishing this book and calling Adam bawling incoherently because how much I related to this story. I wrote it to him on my old blog (xanga!) and it was actually his birthday when I finished.
Here is what I wrote 6 years ago:
I finished my book! I woke up around 1am this morning, after passing out on the couch yesterday... and finished it around 730am. I've never cried so hard for a book ever in my life... Tuesday's with Morrie brought me to tears, but nothing like this. It was like a tidal wave of feelings I didn't know how to deal with all at the same time. It's such a great story. And I am filled to the overflowing brim with words and the desire to put words to the feelings I can't seem to hold back.
I finished it hours ago and slept for 3 hours, and now with swollen eyes, I can't shake the feelings that this story has stirred up in my heart. It's opened a floodgate of reclusive emotions that I have been numbed to for the sake of being able to cope and go through each day with Adam being away for so long. I have recently complained about this numbness because the desire to "feel" again has overwhelmed me lately with the thoughts of being able to finally see my love, my silly boyfriend that makes me laugh and smile and the world melt away consuming my daily thoughts and dreams at night. I have on numerous occasions been ironically bitter at this numbness because while it's firmly rooted in both my conscious and subconsciousness, my longing to just be in the same room with him again surpasses the strength of the numbed feelings and releases the pain of missing someone every once in awhile, until I can push it back into what has become a huge reservoir of emotions behind those floodgates.
Well, this book has opened those floodgates and the emotions are pouring out in huge gushes. For the longest time, these feelings overflowing inside of me today have become foreign to me. I've worried time and time again that I have forgotten how to "feel"... that my coping mechanism of numbness has gotten too strong in strength... but I'm comforted now as I am dealing with this rush of emotions. Even though "feeling" again is somewhat unfamiliar to me right now and there's an aching in my chest similar to the one I had for months after Adam had left to the Peace Corps, I'm happy to know that I have not completely forgotten and that my soul has not completely hardened over these past 13 months. Every once in awhile, I have these dreams of him, where we're hugging, holding or kissing... and I get the same rush of familiarity. And for a moment, a short one, I feel like he's real... like he's right in front of me. Whenever I wake up from these dreams disoriented, I wake up confused to where I am and I immediately look for him beside me or listen to hear if he's gotten up to brush his teeth or something. When reality kicks in, and it always kicks in HARD, I can't help but close my eyes and hope I can fall asleep again to continue my dream.
I'm happy to feel again. I didn't think it would happen to me without actually being around Adam and while it has totally caught me off guard and I feel unbalanced, in the recluse of what I thought was becoming a cold, hardened soul... I welcome this opening of the floodgates because I have not felt like my complete self in a long time. I think the feeling of "something always missing" won't go away til Adam's really in front of me in the same room, but this experience has helped to fill in the "gap" a bit. I'm so happy to feel again.
For a long time now, I think I've been in a rush... a rush to be with Adam again. Just to be near him again. I think I need to slow down a little bit and really enjoy this journey. The journey is more than the destination, right? So, for the first time in what feels like forever, I am in no hurry. I'm excited that God will unfold this love story, on His time and with His Wisdom.
Needless to say, I highly recommend "The Time Traveler's Wife"... more than any other book I have ever read. AND that includes books I love from my fave author, Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, The Wedding, etc). The story will grab hold of your heart and won't let go even after you put the book down. It fills you with joy in celebration of the enduring love between Henry and Clare. I love how the characters are developed. They become a part of you, and for me... I feel grateful and thankful that I can understand or am beginning to understand that kind of "love" because I have been blessed with my very own "traveler" whom I love more than I think I will ever truly comprehend in my lifetime and keep falling in love with despite the circumstances of our journey together so far.
While it's not difficult to hook Jasmine into a great love story, this book is definitely a rare find and a unique gem out there that I am so glad that I haphazardly discovered while purusing a bookstore one random summer day. Even if you're not a die-hard hopeless romantic like I am, you'd be enthralled with the twists and turns of Henry's time travels. And if you are a die-hard hopeless romantic like I hopelessly am, then you'd savor up this novel as much or even more than I did.
This story will pull on your heartstrings. It will challenge you to think about your own purpose in life and how much our past, present, future plays into that purpose. It will leave you thinking about love and the true meaning of love... about the relationships we have and how it's intertwined with our journey of life. As you engross yourself into this book and allow yourself to let go and fall headfirst into it's emotions and feelings, you can't help but feel like you've been there for their whole lives, along the whole journey... watching on the outside, knowing things they don't know of yet but wish you could say to them. It'll force you to think about time and how short life really is... leaving you to feel like you need to slow down to enjoy each day, enjoy each moment - the same way you feel when you long to savor each moment Henry and Clare have together and wish they could have more of when the story is over. When you turn that last page, you're left wanting more. With an insatiable desire to stay with Henry and Clare a little while longer. Not many stories or books can do that and I have a feeling that this story will sit in my thoughts and my heart for a long time to come.
And it did...
To this day, it is still one of my favorite stories ever and when I reread it again a couple of years ago... it still had the same profound effect after I finished. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend that you do.
This week's posts:
Book Review: The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club
2011 Pulitzer Prize Winner
Bookshelf Monday :: 1