I am a collector. I don’t have shelves that hold my treasures and my walls aren’t covered with masterfully done works of art. I don’t have rows of clothes hanging in my closet, nor do I have shelves of shoes. I don’t have a variety of handbags and I always wear the same three earrings, never-changing them for any reason. And yes, you read that right. Three earrings. Not two. Not four. Three. I don’t have drawers or bags of make-up and I don’t have umpteen bottles of hair products.
But, as I said, I am a collector.
I’m a collector of words. If I could afford it, I’d have a hard back copy of every one of my favorite novels ever published. I’d have rows and rows of books on everything from cooking to painting to fixing anything. I’d love to one day have my own little library in my home, complete with the little sliding ladder to reach whatever would be stored on the top shelves. But, besides books, I collect words. I collect other people’s words and I keep my collection in a little velvet covered purple book.
I’ve been jotting down quotes for about ten years now. Anytime I see or hear something that pulls at my heart-strings, or appeals to my psychotic counterpart that dwells deep within, or beckons that little kid that I still am at heart, I write it down. I have quotes on everything from love to bubble gum. Quotes about death and being born again. Famous words about living a humble life and being a strong woman. Proverbs regarding raising children and song lyrics that can bring even the strongest of men to tears.
I seek these quotes out whenever I can and I always try to jot them down, even if I don’t have my purple velvet book with me. I’ve been known to write them on gum wrappers, napkins, receipts, and pretty much anything else you can think of. But they always find their way into my book.
Mountain Man still doesn’t understand my collection. He’s inquired about it several times throughout our time together and I’ve tried to explain it to him as best as I could. He still doesn’t get it, though. And really, I understand why he doesn’t get it. I cannot give any real reason for my obsession with words. I can’t give a plausible explanation for wanting to write someone else’s words down and keep them. It makes absolutely no sense in the grand scheme of things.
But, in my world, it makes perfect sense. My collection of quotes, sayings, bible verses, proverbs, song lyrics, and thoughts from other people remind me that no matter what I’m going through, someone else has been there, too. No matter how elated I’m feeling, or how unbelievably loved, or how God-awful rotten, or how absolutely pathetic and pitiful and sad, someone else out there has felt that way too. Someone else out there has been in my shoes and knows my frustrations and pain and love and happiness and helplessness and grief. Someone else out there gets it. My collection reminds me that I’m not alone in this world, that it can always be worse than what it really is, and that perhaps I truly might be one of the luckiest women in the world. For even though my life is far from perfect and things rarely ever go as planned, if I died tomorrow, I can honestly say that I’ve truly lived.
I’ve experienced so many things in this world. I’ve felt the pain and sting of life’s hurts. I’ve felt the horrible ache and emptiness from the death of the only man who was always there for me, no matter what. I’ve also felt the butterflies and the highest of highs whenever my love’s lips touch mine. I’ve felt the hurt that only a Mother can know when her children disappoint her. I’ve felt the disappointment from not acting on a gut feeling and following my heart. I’ve felt a love like no other and basked in the joy that only true love can bring. I’ve felt the hurt of knowing my friend is making the wrong decision but supporting her anyway because she’s my friend. I’ve felt the sick worry that comes when my children are ill or hurt and I can’t help them. I’ve felt the love in a stranger’s heart when I’ve offered a helping hand.
I have lived and my collection of words in my little purple book are a reflection of a life well lived. I’ll have to replace my book soon because the pages are nearly full. I’m not sure I’ll be able to find another little velvet covered purple book, but like so many other things in life, it’s not the cover that counts. It’s what’s on the inside.