fall 2014 133

A strange thing has happened in our house. A thing I understand, but not without marvel. Our oldest son, 14, is in love with sports and music. He enjoys beekeeping and taking care of the animals on our small hobby farm.

He's also reading Come My Beloved: Inspiring Tales of Catholic Courtship in bits and spurts.

I recommended the book to him. I recommend dozens of books to him. He usually glances at the cover or reads the opening few pages. He's a Percy Jackson guy, Pittacus Lore, Agatha Christie. Action, mystery, drama . . . which is why every time I see him reading a few more pages of the book I feel happily surprised.

Come My Beloved isn't written for kids. It's a collection of ordinary people's stories. Nothing flashy. The kind of stories you'd hear if you sat down over a relaxed dinner and asked a couple how they got together.

And my son has come downstairs in the morning more than once to tell me which story he had started the night before. Which person had inspired him most so far or made him think. Watching my son make his way through the book is a good reminder.

We need each other's stories. Lost in the pressures and confusions of our culture, we long to aim higher. None of us are immune to the temptations of lust and gluttony, but they aren't what we were designed for. Underneath, we yearn for goodness. To know it, touch it and to be it. Good, noble, honorable and true.

That's why my son is still reading. Would he tell his friends he's reading it? Of course not. He'd agree to be seen with the book only if he was lying in a casket. But so what; he's reading it. Reminding me to believe in him. Begging me to see the heart that seeks goodness, even, or perhaps especially, on the camouflaged days.

*For other secretly reflective teenagers out there, this book might be worth a look. Again, it isn't aimed at this age group. It certainly would not pass the test of hip or cool, but if that can be set aside, it just might inspire some young men and women to courageous hope.

Be sure to check out our Book Notes archive.

Copyright 2014, Michelle Dawn Jones