About a week ago I walked into the library and saw this simple setup in honor of Valentine’s Day. The neatly wrapped gifts bedazzled with glittery red heart stickers beckoned my attention. Stepping closer, I read the sign. “How about a blind date with a book?”
Immediately I loved the idea. What a creative way to inspire someone to read, to maybe pick up a book they would normally pass over, a book they would judge by the cover, never giving it the consideration it deserves.
I stared some more at all the wrapped books. I was tempted to choose one for myself. But then I did what I always do. I turned a simple decision into something bigger than it needed to be. In other words, my eyes went from one package to another, my mind went from one question to another, until it was too late. My time was up.
I had taken too long to think it through. And now I had to head to class. Probably someone else would come along in a minute, and hastily choose a book—no problem. The day would continue like that until all the blind date books were given a chance, cracked open by open hands, open minds.
The next day I was sitting with someone who was offering me her opinion on something that’s been on my mind.
She smiled, looked at me and said, “You realize this is an exercise in openness, don’t you?”
Well, no. Actually, I hadn’t.
So, I needed to be more open…
The words jingled in my head like a radio tune resonating on replay.
I flashed back to the pile of books. I had taken too long to choose one partly because I was afraid. My thoughts went something like this:
What if I choose the wrong book? What if it’s not this one I’m supposed to take home, but that one? What if I end up regretting my choice?
Never once did I ask:
What if I find the most perfect book for me to read? What if the book I pick changes or transforms my way of thinking? What if the book inspires me or makes me laugh and I simply just enjoy it?
No, no. When it comes to making decisions for myself I overthink every possibility—especially all the ways my choice could turn against me. Sometimes I appreciate having this quality. Other times, I see it’s completely ridiculous—what’s the worst thing that could have happened with picking a book blindly?
An exercise in openness, she said. I had to laugh. Yes, I see how those were the exact words I needed to hear.