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Watership Down + the books worth rereading

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“All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.” ― Richard AdamsWatership Down
I was in the midst of summer, and my life was a total mess. I hadn't read a thing in weeks. (except the stuff I had to read to finish up the insane amount of homework I still had to do) Nothing appealed to me. Every time I would start to read something, the words would blur together, and my mind would wander away, completely uninterested in any story. 

I felt like burying my face into my pillow and screaming. 

All I wanted was to forget everything, to wrap myself up in a dozen fuzzy blankets, and read something good, something familiar and comfortable, something that I already knew I love. I just wanted to escape.

I stared at my bookshelf, overflowing with thick books I have yet to read, and somehow my gaze wandered to my old copy of Watership Down
I pulled it out, flipped through the yellowing pages. The corners of the paperback cover were all bent up, and, sprawled across the title page in fading pencil, was my 11-year-old self's signature. 

I knew that this was it. This was exactly what I needed.

My dad first read Watership Down to me when I was little more than five years old. Those are some of my favorite memories, curled up next to Dad on the couch, listening to the story of the rabbits' journey. It became one of my absolute favorite stories. I'm one of the weirdos who actually likes the movie.

From the very first line, Richard Adams' poetic descriptions of the downs pull me in. His words have a way of holding you still. They don't let go until it's over, and even after, they linger in your mind.
Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, and all the other rabbits are some of the best characters I have ever read. They are believable, and I am able to relate to them, even though they are rabbits.
This was my third time through the book, but I didn't get bored. I felt like I was rediscovering something I had lost. And I enjoyed every little morsel of it.

That's why I love rereading. 
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Reading a new book feels like a fresh start. Like when you meet someone for the first time and you decide whether you like them or not. But revisiting an old book is like sitting down to have a cup of tea with your best friend. Even though you haven't seen each other in a while, you are able to start right where you left off. 

My Lord of the Rings collection has seen more rereads than I can count, and I have flipped through my old childhood favorites, Ella Enchanted, Anne of Green Gables, and, or course, Watership Down, many times. 

There is something so comforting and magical about it that I can't describe. 

But it also encourages me to read more new books by authors I've never heard of. To go out and add to my favorites shelf, like The Book Thief, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, or Code Name Verity, all books I fell in love with and definitely plan to pick up again one day. 

That's the beautiful cycle of it.
what are the books you love to revisit?

"what's in a name?"

I keep a list of my favorite names on my phone. Whenever I meet someone with an unusual name, or think of one myself, I quickly write it down so that I won't forget it. I have grown quite the collection over the years.

My sisters always tell me that they feel sorry for my future children, because, let's face it, they are going to get stuck with some pretty peculiar names. I don't care, though. I have an obsession with insanely long, unique sounding names. I can't help it.

via
I think it's because of my own name. Hannah. The name has always felt so overused to me. I have been in classes where there have been (and I'm not even exaggerating) 20 Hannahs. I don't even have to tell you how confusing that can get.
I've always related to Anne Shirley in that way. Call me Cordelia. Please. Anything but plain, old, tired Hannah.
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Lately I've been struggling with trust.
I hold on too tightly to people and material objects.
I can't let go and let God.
I'm terrified at what might happen if I let go. I always feel like if I do, the thing that I'm holding on to will stretch out its wings, and flutter away. I'm scared of losing, of being abandoned and forgotten by the people I love.

I pray every night for God to help me with this. I believe; help my unbelief [Mark 9:24]. But it's been hard.

I flipped through my little Bible to 1 Samuel awhile ago and read the story of Hannah, my namesake.
I've read it many times before, and know it well, but this time it spoke to me.

Hannah wanted a son more than anything. She wept and wouldn't eat, and her heart was sad [1 Samuel 1:8]. She prayed every day, even though it seemed hopeless.
But then she decided to give it all to God.
And she vowed a vow and said, "O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but give your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head." [1 Samuel 1:11]
I don't know what made her do it. I can't imagine it was easy, it never is easy to let go. But instead of continuing to go on being depressed, she went away and her face was no longer sad [1 Samuel 1:18].
That was the part of the story that stuck out to me. She was no longer sad. She didn't know what would happen. She didn't have any guarantee that she would ever have a son. But she wasn't worried. It was in God's hands.

Reading this comforted me more than I can express.

I think this is one of the reasons I have this name. Every time someone acknowledges me, I am reminded of the story, and how to trust. It's still difficult. I'm not perfect. Hannah wasn't perfect. But I'm learning to put my faith in the One who is.
what I've been meditating on