What a father-daughter reading streak reveals about the presence of wonder in the ordinary.
Whenever I get into conversations that toss around gloomy terms like “post-Christian” or “mainline decline,” I recall a certain “NY Times” article about ordinary people doing an ordinary thing, yet it adding up to something remarkable: A single father and his nine-year old daughter set out on “The Streak” to read together at bedtime, first for 100 days, then 1,000, then…well they just didn’t stop, for NINE years. Every night. If dad was traveling, they’d read over the phone. If she was out with friends on a Friday night, she’d pop home for half-an-hour. Every evening they did this until her first day of college. While sitting in her dorm room, they read together for the last time. The Streak ended the way it began, with L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”
It wasn’t just about the reading:
Like all earth-shattering acts, there was more to The Streak than met the eye, although for years it was unspoken. About the time The Streak started, Kristen’s family shrunk from six to two in a year’s time. Her two surviving grandparents died. Her sister, who is seven years older, went off to Yale. And her mother left her father. “It was just the two of us,” Kristen said. “The Streak was stability when everything else was unstable. It was something I knew would always be there.”
“People kept leaving me, but with The Streak, I knew that nothing would come before The Streak. In high school, I had friends who never talked to their parents. It never occurred to me not to. If someone takes care of you, you want to be with them…”
Over the years, he has built a collection of 700 of the best books he and Kristen read together. “I don’t have much money to pass on,” he said. “But these books, she’ll read to hers and they’ll read to theirs. And they’ll read to the generations down the lines. It’s a means for me to touch generations I’ll never see. They’ll all be smart. I can’t imagine these books will never be used. Every single one of them is so good.”
Read the whole story. Think about it. Go look for the wonder of God in our ordinary, predictable lives of faith. And we’ll see each other on Sunday to sing and pray and read -- a Streak the saints have been keeping for a long time.