Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Read for Your Life

In his fascinating Read for Your Life--Literature as a Life Support System, Joseph Gold says that experiencing other people's life situations in fiction causes real reactions in our minds and bodies.

The instructor in a Christian counseling class I took recommended the book.

Gold often assigns certain novels as therapy because we learn important things about ourselves and others as we imagine ourselves in those situations, share their emotions, and make judgments on the characters' actions and reactions--and what we would do in the same situation.

I also read an article about feeling empathy while reading a novel and the effects the feelings have on the brain's neurons.

Haven't we all had pounding hearts, tears, laughter while enjoying books or movies?

These references conclude that fiction--yes, fiction, which is often disparaged as not worthy of consideration--can be very beneficial--or harmful--to our minds and spirits.

No wonder St. Paul said, "Whatsoever things are pure, lovely, think on these things...." Philippians 4:19

It's nice to be open-minded and informed and entertained, but--we're warned to be careful what we dwell on: "Guard your hearts," Proverbs 4:23 LNT tell us, "for it affects everything you do."

My happy-go-lucky heroine gets into some bad stuff in her rebellion and anger at God. She blames herself for two deaths and turns to all the wrong sources for peace and solutions.

Her darling husband had warned her, "Get into a playpen with serpents, and sooner or later, you get bitten." She does--and she does. I show her with headaches and anxiety and some real problems from her dabbling.

But the prayers of others who love her, plus her own courage and general good nature also affect this sweet and wounded woman. She turns a corner, toward God and the man who loves her. (But which one?)

What would you have done in her position, feeling what she felt? Who really knows, until it happens to them? Would your faith have kept you on the straight and narrow? Would mine? I believe so, but--

She sees the reality of spiritual warfare. But the reader dwells on her--and our-- victory in the Lord over the power of the enemy--with love and laughter in the process.


Tom McDonald said...

Through the vehicle of the fast-image technological media, you have given a great gift to your website viewers that so creatively unfolds God's beauty and artistry, and that prompts us to slow down and see His world again--for the first time!
Thank you for sharing this gift of your God-given talents with those viewers who have been invited to view your site. I am so thankful that you have shared my Lightning Bug story with your readers also. Thank you. From Tom's Lighthouse~Tom McDonald

"The joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you."

Margo Carmichael said...

Thank *you,* Tom, for the Lightning Bugs page (see March 3) and for the lovely thoughts on your website. Indeed, we do need to slow down and look at His world. He could have made it all in black and white, but He loves beauty and those like you who spread it around.