I grew up wanting to be a reader. I don’t think I always was a reader, but I definitely wanted people to think I was one. It wouldn’t be a far stretch to say that I was the kind of kid who wore fake glasses and carried a book around with an overly familiar title with the cover facing out just so people would see me as “the reader.” Even though my young teenage self had ulterior motives for becoming a reader, the root was a desire to be like my grandfather.
My grandfather is a shy man. His long career as an institute director has not made him any more comfortable around big groups than he was as a child. Hiding behind his pair of thick reading glasses, the bulk of my grandfather’s career was spent slaving away within long texts, all providing context to the scriptures he has almost marked bare with red and blue ink. Reading his memoirs this last year, I learned that faith was not always easy for him, but his persistence in making sense of the world and its inconsistencies rendered him a man of great strength and comfort for others.
But if there is one trait I have admired about my grandpa from a young age, it is his eyes. One of my favorite scriptures is found in 3 Nephi 13:22 – “The light of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” Behind those thick rims lies a peace that came in spite of skepticism, doubt, and intermittent mental anguish. His eyes tell the story of a deep faith, rounded and tried. That is why I wanted to be a reader. To be full of light like my wonderfully shy grandpa.