From a young age, I’ve had a passion for books. Picture books turned into elementary readers turned into B Jones, the MagicTree House, Harry Potter, anything Nicholas Sparks, and so on. Lately, my reading list is filled with legal thrillers, political manifestos, autobiographies and philosophical fiction.
While most books I’ve read range from average to good, some were exceptional, sending a message that spelled out values and beliefs I never knew I held. I felt almost like their messages became an integral part of my being. Of course, after reading one of these profound books I felt as though I would burst if I couldn’t discuss the content of those pages with someone. So I would be tempted to share the book with others, wanting them to read and experience what I had experienced. But another part of me felt like sharing these words was like offering part of myself on a platter, like I was laying out my innermost thoughts and values for their approval. If they loved the book and the ideas it provoked, it was an approval of my personal convictions. If they hated it or, almost as bad, were apathetic toward it, it was equivalent to devaluing the ideals and values I held dear and disapproving of me as a person.
But if I’m incapable of even sharing the words that define my views with others, than how could I ever claim that I live out these convictions in my life? Am I truly valuing any values if I’m not acting upon them? If someone can’t look at me and know my what I stand for without doubt, am I not failing to live up to my own standards? Today I will make an effort to change my course and begin living out the things I’ve come to value. This life is mine to live, and I intend to take my highest values and live them out with integrity.