“Yes, up there. Just under that pile of dusty books, I think. Yes, definitely, it’s a Bible.” I had been browsing through our local thrift store, looking for whatever might interest me. On my prior visit there, I had discovered a stopwatch for $2. I couldn’t resist it. No, I didn’t need a stopwatch, but this one looked high-tech with a long lanyard. Irresistible. Makes me look like a track coach. On this day I was searching for yet another such discovery. And maybe I had found it: a Bible in the dust.
Now, I have a number of Bibles already so why another? Well, used Bibles always have a story to tell. Someone owned it and, for whatever reason, discarded it. This one has a rich leather cover and gold-edged pages. Special edition, too: Dictionary/Concordance and study aids. The inscription was to an Alyssa LeAnn, given on Mother’s Day over a decade ago. Despite the years, this Bible is NEW, no marks, no wrinkles, no turned-down edges, nothing. Other than the inscription it appears unread, just an item to collect dust. I’ll never know the story, but the story intrigues me.
Why, over a decade later, does a new, unread, Bible show up in a ragtag thrift store? The book was obviously a gift from a well-intentioned friend or relative, judging from the inscription and the date given. The ready inference is that the recipient would value such a gift, yet the gift sat unread for years. This is a book with a history, a book that I wish could talk. Maybe the gift was to provide encouragement or reassurance, or possibly to reinforce a desire for the recipient to read it. Whatever, this Bible sat alone, untouched. On that, the act of reading the Bible has always been an anomaly. That is, if people believe the Bible is truly the word of God, wouldn’t they want to read from it weekly, even daily? Yet few do. If our fathers were to write a book to help us in this one life, wouldn’t we want to read it not once, but frequently? Regardless of what one believes, the Bible is much more than a book; it stands as a symbol for Christian beliefs. To give one as a gift is more, much more, than the simple act of giving a book. Whatever the intent of the gift, it was not realized.
By taking this Bible I sensed I was rescuing it, giving it a new chance at life. It happens to be the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), never previously read by me. I have, so far, enjoyed several hours holding it, feeling the texture, gently turning the delicate pages, and searching its study pages. This Bible has finally found a home. No, I’m not that religious, but the word spiritual I acknowledge.
Footnote: When I approached the checkout counter, the gentleman there said “Take it. Bibles here are free.”