I remember when I was growing up I was so fascinated by the library, and I would ride my bicycle to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library that was located in South Sacramento right off of Florin Road and 24th Street, I believe. And in that building I was an explorer, as I went through the catalogs and catalogs of Greek Mythology books, and Science Fiction, and travel anthologies, by opening up my mind to the possibilities of space travel, and time travel, and distance travel, and I was so alive with the burning illumination of a mind so open, so free, so excitable, to experience something so fresh, so new, so unique and so me.
I remember I would go to the library every day, and I would check out between 7 and 10 books and I would go home with excitement as I rode my bicycle down my street making sure that no dogs were lurking around; because I was always afraid of dogs lurking around that could get me while I was on my bicycle. So as I pedaled faster and faster home, and as I greeted my mother with “good morning, good afternoon, I love you” and I would run to my bedroom and I would close my door, and I would just read endlessly my books, and the time would pass so quickly, the day would become night, the night would become morning, and then become day again.
And as I read the pages of each book, each story, each mystery, each exciting trilogy of my super hero or super villain, or super person at that time, I remember thinking to myself this was, this is amazing. I had no idea that I was festering in my mind at that time, a life of wanting to be a dreamer, a life of being a lifelong interpreter of the numerous words that I would read on the page of each book. I remember telling myself that I thought it was so amazing that as a child I could send myself to any place I wanted to go and my mind would take me there as I floated along the clouds of pure imagination the ecstasy of it all, to know that all that I really needed in my life was not my arms, was not my legs, it was not my physical body, but my mind, and my mind was so open with the learning of new experiences, with taking the material that I would read and putting myself in the stories, and feeling myself doing the adventures, and battling the bad, and being victorious with the good, I was experiencing a life that I never, that I never knew existed.
As a child I didn’t have many friends, so my friends became the books that I read and the pages of the stories and the words of the characters became my new friends. I was able to recall their lives and their adventures and their existence through the pages and the words that I was reading. Those were the most amazing days and period of my life, the books, the exploring of my mind, the escapism into worlds and journeys, and paragraphs and sentences, it was just an amazing time. So I fast forward to now in my life and I am still inquisitive, still excited, and still amazed by the written word.
I was in the library just yesterday, and I had some things that I needed to take care of, and I remember as I was there checking out a new book, not new to the world, but new to me because I had heard about it and I was excited about the adventure it was going to bestow upon me. But while I was there I saw a little girl, she had to have been no more than eight or nine, but there she was with her little glasses, she looked just like me. As she stood at the counter with the books in her hands, and she was so excited and saying how she was going to be reading these all day, and all night, and she couldn’t wait until the last book was read, because she was going to come back and get some more books because that was what she lived for she loved reading.
That little girl wasn’t African American, she might have been Hispanic or Caucasian, but she was just like me, because the enthusiasm that she had for the written word, the enthusiasm that she was getting ready to enjoy the adventures, the journeys, the trip that she was going on with the written word was something that I too so embraced as a young child. She had little glasses on just like me and I thought it was so amazing, I said wow there’s my twin when I was that age. I still am that same little girl, the little girl who found it amazing to again have her mind opened by the written word because the written word allowed her to escape whatever troubles or perils that she dealt with in the rest of her life.
The written word allowed her to see for herself that life be it so sweet on the outside, sometimes could be so bitter on the inside; but reading, opening up your mind taking yourself on a journey that you had no idea where you were going, allowed you for periods of time to escape into something that was magical and amazing. That is what I began to realize and feel even more with my journey, and my Spiritual journey as I continue to read, and open my mind to the words of the Heavenly Spirit, and as I continued to read and open my mind to other words of text and scripture, of understanding and interpreting, and understanding what it all means to me. I began to realize once again that I’m taking myself on a journey, a journey of such illumination, a journey that will allow me to manifest the thoughts in my mind to paper so that I can share those dreams, those thoughts, those trips with others, um what a life this is to enjoy.
I want to touch the minds of our youth, as I was touched with the written word, with the love of the Heavenly Spirit now so embraced and embossed in my heart. I want to see a generation of young people opening up their minds to the possibility that everything here is not only theirs to enjoy and to be a blessing to them, but it is also here for them to rise up to the magnificent potential that they are destined to realize; and it all starts with reading, reading and opening up your mind to the possibility that life can be so sweet when it feels so bitter, by taking themselves to a new dimension, to a new universe, to a new outing, to a new adventure, to a new level, because of reading.
So I say to you today, as you go along your way, and as you look back at what brought you most pleasure, and as you realize from your past that there were some things that still remain unfinished because you didn’t realize what those things were. I ask you to open up a book, to take the time to read, and to open up your mind to the possibility that you too are still a dreamer, you too are still allowed that magnificent dream to take yourself to faraway places, to far away destinations, to faraway time periods, and faraway time travels; because just as a child looks at a book with the amazement and the illumination of a brand new thing, you too can see your life opened up again to a brand new thing, share the joy of reading, share a book, share the experience of the written word with someone else, and change your life, change your existence, and change yourself, and so it is. Amen and amen, God bless you all