Love always the moment!

Love always the moment!
Live Like someone left the door open! Credit, Martine Lemens via

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Old Friends...

When I was 12 years old or so, some friends from church gave me a Precious Moments Bible shortly after my mother almost died of a heart attack.  It was blue, had a fake leather cover, and had lots of pretty Precious Moments scattered among its New King James text.  I loved that Bible. I'd color in some of the pictures, underline tons of verses (some of the passages in that old Bible are unreadable now because of my incessant underlining), and take it everywhere I went.

I was an only child.  I spent most of my time around adults because of the lack of other kids in my immediate family, so around my peers at school I was socially awkward which ended up (believe it or not) causing me to be painfully shy.  I think its so funny most people I went to Jr. High and High School with have this idea that I'm stuck up or overly perky or whatever because those attitudes were all covers for the fact that I was in mortal terror of everyone in the school building every day... I'm not exaggerating.  I started public school in 8th grade after attending a little church school for two years and I was so petrified of my classmates when I went back to public school that I hid behind characters that didn't let people too close to me.  Everybody thought I was stuck up.

When I tell people I'm shy, they don't believe me because I love being up in front of people and acting and stuff.  What many people don't know though, is being a performer is a wonderful way to hide from people because you control what they see and to a certain extent, their reactions toward you.  If you know how, you can make people laugh or cry or happy or sad and never know anything about you. 

My anti-social activities worked all too well... Oddly enough, although I had a lot of social anxiety, I was very lonely.  I'd get home from school after dodging attempted conversations with people all day and there my blue Bible would be on my desk in my room.  I'd read two chapters out of it every night, underlining and highlighting as I went.  That little blue book was one of my best friends.  It made me feel safe and sometimes I'd sleep with it under my pillow.   I loved the God written about in its pages, but strangely never made the connection that He could help me with the social problems I was having. 

I wore that Bible out.  By my senior year in High School, large sections of pages were falling out and the back was totally broken.  My mother suggested that I retire that Bible so I'd have it as a keepsake and with a heavy heart I set the little book on a shelf.

I had several Bibles after that...some I gave away, one ended up getting stolen (there was a actually a serial Bible Thief involved...I'll write about THAT at another time...), and one got injured when I dropped wet laundry on it, causing its pages to shrivel up like wilted lettuce (making the pages really hard to read).  

Then I fell in love again.  It was another NKJV Bible ... A black slimline with concordance and lots of in-sheets where I could write notes.  It had a beautiful genuine leather cover that I was afraid of ruining, so I made a needle point cover for it.  Eventually I discarded the cover because it got those pill-thingies that stuff made of yarn tends to get.  Eventually I got a cover for it made out of a light brown corduroy that I liked a lot -- it had pockets inside where  I could keep pens and highlighters.  I'd also keep notes and lesson quarterlies in there and eventually the back of the Bible ended up breaking --

I spent a lot of time reading the book of Daniel at that time.  The pages wore through and many of them are covered in tape.  I wrote notes from sermons I heard in the margins.  I didn't know that the ink I used wasn't acid free and now some of the ink has worn its way through to the other side of the pages.  Sometimes I'd have longer notes that wouldn't fit in the margins, so I'd put them post-its that I'd stick on the pages themselves for future reference.  When the sticky note covered a passage I wanted to read, I'd just move it to a different place on the page.

Like my old Precious Moments Bible, it went everywhere with me.  I was a Junior in college then, in a renewed state of social isolation.  My parents let me live with them while I was going to the University of Iowa.  I had a 45 minute commute to school every day and I didn't have time to take part in school functions.  I'd joke around with my classmates before and after class, but then I'd have to hurry home to study, so I didn't have a lot of chances to make any real relationships.  Plus during that time, so many of the people in my life were dying of Cancer and other things and there was pretty serious family trouble -- life seemed so overwhelming. 

Then when I moved away to Seminary, my Bible felt like a friend from home, a companion in my new surroundings.  I jotted notes from my classes in the Bible and took it everywhere I went...

Then, just like that, I fell out of love. 

I didn't mean to, it just happened.   There were several reasons for this...

(1) Bible Study had become my homework since I was majoring in theology.  It was no longer an escape, but an obligation, a source of stress and anxiety and I started avoiding it... My little leather slimline was the one that I always used for homework, so I started associating it with uncomfortable feelings...

(2) Paradoxically, I started working at my college's bookstore where there were all kinds of shiny new Bibles and I had a discount.  I bought new ones at different times that I'd use for church and study and left my black slimline on the shelf next to the Precious Moments Bible. 

Then one night I sat on my couch with my Slimline Bible.  For some reason, I didn't want to open it.  I held it in my hands, turning it over and over like a block of wood.  I thought I didn't know how to open it.  I didn't know what I wanted to read. 
Another night, my father had to go to the hospital with heart problems and I sat with my Bible and some stickers.  I had some decorative butterfly and bird stickers that I put in choice places throughout my Bible.  I was sitting next to the phone waiting for news from home of my dad and I guess I needed something to do with my hands.  After I was out of  bird and butterfly stickers, I used tree and flower stickers (why I had these in my apartment, I don't really remember...).

Since then I've had lots of Bibles and I've tried to become as attached to one of them as I was to my Precious Moments Bible and my Slimline...both of which are now quite worn out like an old Teddy Bear...  Now that my life is getting stressful again, I found myself doing that especially.  Recently though I went back to my old slimline which is sitting next to me now in its worn corduroy cover.  Its leather binding has long since become quite worn and ragged and its edges are lined with electrical tape and its torn in-sheets are all patched.
In that beloved book are words of comfort from a God who loves me.  There too at home on my bookshelf is my old blue Precious moments Bible...I think I might sleep with it under my pillow again one night. 

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