Emily Dickinson said in one of her poems, “There is no frigate like a book to take us miles away.”  Reading to someone does just that:  It can help them forget for a little while their pain, their loneliness, their anxiety.

When Jack was in his eighties his eyesight was diminished and he was too weak to hold up a newspaper. So, various men from our church volunteered to read to him. I remember one time when my husband returned home after reading to Jack, he said,  “Jack always wants the sports page read first, and he told me, ‘ I have always been a Detroit Tigers fan, and I would love to hear what the paper said about yesterday’s game.’ ”

Sometimes we forget, that a meaningful way to care for someone whose eye sight has diminished or who is too weak to hold a book, is to offer to read to them.  Often during the last six years of my mom’s life, she asked me to read to her from one of Max Lucado’s books.  She also requested me to read from one of her current romance novels.  (I was glad that she still loved romance at 90 years of age.)

Madeleine L’Engle shares that when her granddaughter was very ill and in a lot of pain, “Story was a painkiller, quite literally.  When her brain was focused on story, then it was not on the pain center.  Story was a more effective painkiller than any chemical medication.”  (See link: A Powerful Pain Killer)

Consider reading to the person who is receiving your care.


There is no Frigate like a Book (1286)

Emily Dickinson

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry-
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll-
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul-

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.


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