This morning, in an effort to whittle the pile down, I took one book off of the growing stack perched above my side of the bed, with the intention of returning it to the library from whence it came.

14 books remain, which is a number high enough to make anyone ponder my intentions for being able to make my way through them all.

In the mix sits the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, The Dharma of the Princess Bride, and two books by Bill Bryson.

Sometimes when I’m laying underneath the shelf that supports their hulking weight, I imagine being suddenly visited by them all, when the dark-stained rectangle of pine makes the well-timed, conscious decision to give up its thankless role as propper-upper of things and heaves them all off with one push of breath onto my head, chest, and stomach.

The book I am most actively reading, however, sits on the coffee table in the living room.

As the required read for a weekly class series I’m currently taking on white awareness, I’ve managed to keep up with the chapters assigned to us each week but only just barely. Not only is there only so much time allotted in the span of any given day that isn’t already spoken for with something else to do, but additionally this book is not a pleasure read. It’s more of a: read-a-little-bit-and-then-contemplate/become filled with heartache sort of deal.

Please don’t misunderstand. This book is incredibly well written. It’s a profoundly important read that is busting open my awareness (in a good way, though not comfortable or pleasant or easy) with every new page. It’s just a lot to absorb and digest. And I have to continually remind myself that there’s nothing I have to do right now, other than to allow my perspective to expand and my understanding to grow. I don’t have to swing into action and become the grand corrector of our deeply entrenched dynamics of systemic oppression and the mighty savior of all those who are ravaged by the impacts of our white dominance.

What I can do is keep reading, a little bit at a time as I am able. I can keep attending class and I can work at keeping my mind and heart open in a way that allows me to stay engaged, receptive, and grounded in the present moment. What I have to offer to this big topic right now is my willingness to learn, and that is enough. For now anyway.

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