chasing shadows again

{April 28, 2007}   posted slightly ahead of schedule as it’s 10:50pm

And I’m drinking bottled water and not coffee. Yes, very sad. No, not usual. But as I’m doing everything in molasses time the last few days (I think I may be coming down with something, though I could just be stressed out a bit) I’m doing it now for fear I’ll have forgotten the English language tomorrow or something.

This week I would like to share this postcard from Postsecret for the memories of lots of books. I’ll only babble about one.

I have an old Bible that I am inexplicably fond of, especially considering how I felt about Christianity at the time it came into my possession, with a few notes and a newspaper clipping in it. I once went through page by page to find every marking, every note. The leather cover is worn to suede in the creases around the edges, and I know someone loved this Bible. It’s the Sunday School Teachers’ Edition (it has the cliff notes in the back!) and so I have skimmed my fingers over the pages wondering if it once belonged to a priest.

When I found it, spine twisted, too beaten up already to be treated as it was being treated, I bought it. $15 for a dignified end to a book someone worshiped from was okay by me. I spent the next few weeks searching for what you do with old Bibles (interestingly very few people I have met in the past nine years understand why I would do this, they look at me like I’m out of my mind and suggest old Bibles naturally belong in trash cans) but with no luck. Maybe it’s because my grandmother kept every family Bible of ours she ever had – she has a bookcase full of them, and would take them down and show me my family tree written in ancient ink, updated as people were born, married, and died. Maybe it was the memory of her Bible, with pressed flowers she can identify with events – funerals, dances, weddings. I may not share her faith, but her love for Bibles seems to have found a home in my heart with her love for people, her love for poetry, her love of learning, her love of everyone around her.

I never did find out if there was a proper way to destroy Bibles that were falling apart. It seems odd that we would have disposal rites for flags but not for holy books, but I suppose it’s possible. In any event, years in my possession have acclimated me to it. It travels with me. It lived just below my altar with candles and incense when I had an altar, now it has its own place in the antique wardrobe that smells of time and destiny. I’ve some strange bond with it. Several moves, a fire, and nine years (going on ten this October!) and I think we’re stuck with each other the rest of its life, or the rest of mine.

Anyway – enough of that. I will hopefully catch up to responding to posts and writing things soon. This blank staring at the screen thing I do lately is not cute. Perhaps tomorrow I will curl up in bed with the laptop and try to get some writing done and some rest.

You people have a lovely day. Ciao.


Molli says:

Whether it be a bible or any other kind of book, I can understand your hesitation in simply plonking it in the bin. If I were ever to part with a book (not that I have as yet), it would go to an op. shop or second hand book shop… even if I had to spend months retooling the cover and glueing in each page again to make it whole again. I can NOT destroy a book, regardless of its contents.

I love the fact that you grandmother has kept the family tree in this fashion. Perhaps it’s because I have a penchant for the past… more likely it’s the having of something handwritten that’s lasted through the years. Give me a handwritten note over a three hundred page computer printout any day 🙂 There’s something so very personal in the setting of pen to paper. If I had an “…in love with” tag as you do on your blog here, I would add it to that one statement – “words on a page written by hand”.

Bill says:

I have several tattered and torn and abused old Bibles that I don’t know how to properly dispose of (one I rescued from the bottom of dumpster). Some have said that it’s perfectly OK to just throw them away; others say bury them or burn them or recycle them. My heart tells me that probably the best thing to do is to give them to an organization like the Salvation Army, or to anyone who needs one. I read a story of a woman in a foreign land who had just a few pages from a Bible that were so precious to her that she nearly lost her life rather than surrender them to the authorities. I understand how she feels; I will give them away, but I won’t destroy them… I just can’t do that.

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