Yesterday afternoon after watching our Twins beat the Seattle Mariners on TV, I happened to pick up a “coffee table” book I bought at B&N a few months ago. It’s titled simply “Scotland”. I have ancestors from there and so the country holds some fascination for me.

The book is large, as most coffee table books are, and contains large pictures of the scenery of Scotland, especially a lot of photos of castles, palaces, and monasteries as well as the beautiful mountain scenery of the Highlands and the Islands.

As I was looking through the photos (after all, that’s what most coffee table books are for, to look at photos!) something else caught my eye. It seems the book also contained a lot of the history of Scotland, from long before the time of Christ, through the Roman times, the Norman Conquest, and all the way up to the present. There were especially lots of historical accounts from the past 500-600 years, and I was so drawn into it that I ended up spending 3 to 4 hours reading this big, heavy book.

I noticed my arms becoming tired of holding the book, and my hands were even showing a tendency to “fall asleep”. I knew that was a bad sign, but I just couldn’t put that book down! I continued to read the rest of the evening until I decided it was time to go to bed.

Well, I awoke around 2:00 AM in the wee hours of the morning with pains in my arms and hands. I rolled over, and soon awoke once again with a different configuration of pains in my arms and hands. Unfortunately this was the way the rest of the night went, and by the time my alarm clock went off at 5:30 I was ready to get up and get ready for work. I couldn’t stand it in bed any more.

I know, I should have sat up at the kitchen table with that big ol’ coffee table book rather than sitting there holding it cradled in my arms for so long. It would have been much easier on my arms and hands, and maybe even easier on my eyes, but I was caught up in the history of these people who were some of my forebears. I didn’t want to get up out of my recliner and move to the table.

But I should have. You might want to think about my experience the next time you decide to spend some time with a big coffee table book. It’s not called a coffee table book for nothing. (Well, I guess it’s called that because most people keep them sitting on their coffee table, but the kitchen table might be a better place to read it! The same goes for large study Bibles, especially the hardcover ones!)

Anyway, I’m still feeling the effects of that experience yesterday – pain in my arms and hands. I’ll be more careful from now on.