Monday, January 25, 2010

Arrrghhh - Real vs. Almost Real. Bother (as Pooh would say)

I have a problem.
When we chose "The Count of Monte Cristo" for book club I knew it was a big book. When I went to the store to buy it however - it was HUGE - 1273 pages. I've been reading and reading and reading. But do you know how long it takes to read 1273 pages of very small print and larger than normal pages?
Then last week I found an old copy of the book here at the house (I've bought the classics for years, just didn't read them - hence the book club.) And I discovered it's the abridged version - only 468 pages and paperback sized. Doable.
So, ecstatically I started reading the abridged version. All the hundred's of visual details for each scene and never-ending conversation minutiae I'd been complaining about were gone. Whew.
. . . Except I missed them. I'd read a paragraph or a scene and then pick up the original, HUGE book and read it. And the writing would be so pretty, so flowing, so visual. Then I'd look back at the smaller book. Lines which caused me to stop and ponder were shortened or gone completely. Settings which before I could step in to and imagine perfectly, became just rooms.
Great - the original, the piece of classic art, the work of a master spoiled me for what would be quicker, fit me better, and is (most importantly) doable.
Wonder where else I choose - on purpose, with intention - what is doable over what is the real thing? Wonder what the author Alexander Dumas would say if told his book would be abridged so more people could read it? I imagine he'd say it would loose meaning and the flow and the beauty. He'd probably say, "that really wouldn't be my book and probably a waste of your time."
Wonder if God feels the same way when I settle for less than his true handiwork? When I substitute a quickly read devotion for spending real time with him? When a half-truth fits the situation (my situation) better? When I don't focus and appreciate an opportunity he gives me and just do what's doable, does he think - "Well, Kay, now it's just a waste of time."
I'd like to pray for God to spoil me for only the best, only his plan - but, honestly, I'm not sure I'm ready for that.


LynnRush said...

Fantastic post. Hit home fro me today, that's for sure. Nicely done.

Kay Dew Shostak said...

Thanks Lynn. Glad to know I'm not alone in the struggle!

Read.Write.Pray (Marti Pieper Blog) said...

There's some biblical truth here--not surprising since truth is, well, truth.

The enemy wants to lie, steal, and kill. He tries to slip in and substitute his false pleasures for the true ones. But, deep down, the artificial joy, the quick fix doesn't bring satisfaction. It doesn't give the abiding joy He intends for us. It's almost real--but not quite. And yes, that's a bother.

Lest you think I'm equating abridged books with Satanic activity, I'm not (although I would certainly make a case for the benefits of "real"). I just thought it was an interesting parallel!

Kay Dew Shostak said...

Very astute comment, Marti. Have you read The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis? The senior demon says much the same thing to his apprentice. If they can keep their subject involved with the mundane he won't reach for the sublime.
Thanks for sharing!

Read.Write.Pray (Marti Pieper Blog) said...

I have indeed (read Screwtape Letters). Lewis is one of my favorites. Kinda like Tuesdays with Kay!