The Blessing of a Book

by Christopher Kabamba
(Lusaka, Zambia)

On the 22nd of September 2009, I sat down to write an article I entitled “My perfect neighborhood”; in this article, I was reflecting on the many people who have inspired my life in recent times. The second half of the year 2009 has been a defining time for me along the path of personal growth and awareness. I have been taking baby steps towards living the dream that God has put in my heart.

So I decided to write an article that was going to reminisce about the people that have greatly inspired me along this path. These are people from all corners of the earth; people from different cultures and generations; people, who are challenging me to face my fears, grow and become the best I could ever be.

As I sat to write the said article, I wished these people were my neighbors; what a perfect neighborhood that would be, I thought to myself. Some of these people have passed on. However, at the time of writing this article, a good number of them are still alive.

My list included names which may be familiar to you: James Allen (1864-1912), Bob Proctor, Dr. Myles Munroe, Mike Dooley, Robin Sharma, Dr. Moses Simuyemba, Mubita C. Nawa and Steve Pavlina. The list was by no means conclusive.

Towards the end of that article, as I was transcribed my “wishes” of how I would want to meet or would have loved to meet these people and how “perfect” it would be to have them as my neighbors it dawned on me that this was not a mere fanciful thought; for in that moment I learnt that It was my actual everyday reality which I could extend to as many people as I wished. In a sense, these people were already my neighbors and I had already met them in a way. In fact, I was living with them; more than that, they were living in my house. It can’t get any better can it? Not quite literary of course but by way of the books and articles they have written over time.

Many of these books and articles I carry with me wherever I go and read wherever I lodge. As I read, I am catapulted into their presence and learn the wisdom of life straight from their heart even when they may be a thousand miles away or in a totally different reality (for those who have died). That is a book can do; there is a blessing in a book; books are the companions of the wise; they bring you in the presence of their authors and face to face with the truth they espouse.

I remember reading Robin Sharma’s book, The Greatness Guide, a very refreshing guide filled with timeless lessons from the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari (as Robin has come to be known). In one of the chapters, Robin talks about drinking coffee with Mahatma Gandhi; you would think he was talking about a literal meeting until you read the chapter itself. It’s all about books and how they bring us into the presence of their authors.

You really have no excuse; many of the saints and sages of all time are embodied in the many books they have written or indeed the many books that have been written to chronicle their lives. As you sit down to read these books, you sit down to converse with these people. That is what happened to me those years ago when I read As a Man Thinketh. It was more of a meeting with a man who has inspired the lives of many; and yet, at the time James Allen had been dead for 92 years. That’s what it means to be immortal; it is to continue living in the hearts of men and in the pages of history long after you are gone.

“A book is one of the most patient of all man's inventions. Centuries mean nothing to a well-made book. It awaits its destined reader, come when he may, with eager hand and seeing eye.” Lawrence Clark Powell (American Librarian, Writer and Critic, 1906-2001).

Much of what I know today, I learnt from a book; before I begun to practice; I first read in a book. Much of the limitations I see in my life today, I know I will overcome through the same process. My favorite place in any city is the bookshop for there, the wisdom of life lies waiting for the seeker of truth. As Neal Donald Walsch stated his trilogy Conversations with God, the question is not to whom God speaks; but who listens?

Christopher Kabamba

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