In the Thomas Jefferson Education world the word Liber means to be educated, learned, and in the pursuit of truth. (Well that’s what I think it means). In ancient Greece there was a tree whose bark could be ripped off to be used as paper. They would use this to write on. So in the culture there were the slaves who could not read and the liber who could. It is the root word of Liberty and Library.
So in my attempt to be more Liber I have started to read hard things again. (I took quite a break and am glad to be back, it feels good to think) I am reading (or listening to, as a mother of 6 kids sitting down to read is nigh unto impossible so book on tape is my new best friend) Les Miserables.
It is a good book I am enjoying it but, it is breaking my heart. It is making me sad. It has gotten me thinking why do we read books that hurt?
I understand it is to open our eyes and to broaden our understanding, not to mention increasing our vocabulary. But are we really better off by knowing the suffering of others?
Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by how little I can actually do by the amount of suffering in the world and how I can’t stop it all.
But I realize I can do something. Something small like hugging my child, or by letting someone merge in front of me in a traffic jam, or offering help to another stressed out mother. The little things that can mean so much to other people.
So perhaps that’s the point. Perhaps it get us looking a little closer to home, trying to open our eyes to how we can relieve suffering in my neck of the woods.
Why do you read?