Handed a Heart

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This week, a 7th grade reader leant me a book.

This is the best book I’ve ever read,” she said, all shining eyes and earnestness. “You can borrow it, but please don’t touch any of the pages I marked. I need them. Will you read it, so I can talk to you about it?

What a gift.

To be handed a book with a heart so neatly folded and tucked within its pages.

To be the trusted recipient of this fragile bundle of pages, just scrambled ink on paper, bound with glue. Ink, paper, and glue. There’s nothing special about it, but for that heart inside.

As I begin my 8th year as a librarian, I wonder: will it ever feel less momentous to comb a dog-eared page, wondering which turn of phrase exactly took her breath away, made her pause and mark that page because she just knows she’ll need to find those words to see them again?

It’s a lot. It’s too much. It’s not enough.

Will this ever get old? Will I ever feel anything but humbled and overwhelmed to be this “person” to an evolving human being? Will stories, and the connections they build, ever lose their power?

I hope not.

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