Bible Adoption Agency

May 16, 2008

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My wife loves a rummage sale. She can smell them in the spring breeze. There is a musty, basement scent. There is a plastic trinkets warming in the sun scent. There is old burnt food on these old pots and pans scent. Today, she tracked down a rummage sale.

And she brought home her kill.

Her kill was mostly lain on my desk with the same pride a bird dog lays a duck at the hunter’s feet. She had every right to be proud. She had books. She had old books. I love books.

There were several in the stack, but let us focus on the largest. The largest has a leather like cover. This cover is in midnight blue. The spine declares this old book to be a Holy Bible: King James Version: Clear Word Reference Edition.

My lovely wife brings this to me, as I have collected Bibles from such places and ran a type of adoption agency. There are many people who want a Bible, but cannot afford or otherwise lay their hands on one. You might not know this. I do.

I started this adoption agency when volunteering at a county jail. This jail was full of all the sorts of people you would expect to find there. These residents also included those folk who decided to turn to God in their despair.

Do not think me callous. I believe many people only turn their thoughts to God when in despair. Sometimes they get right and stay right with him. Sometimes they abandon him when their prospects look brighter. Either way, I’d not deny a despairing soul a Bible, come what may.

So, my beautiful bride knows that I collect these. I find different homes now that I no longer visit that jail. I would visit it, but the 3000 and some odd miles prevent a regular trip. Still, I continue running my personal agency.

In the course of the usual incoming orphan of a Bible, I peruse the wear. This Bible has been used, but not abused. I like them this way. I like knowing the former owner did not neglect this Holy Writ, nor treat the book poorly. I also like to look at the dedication page. This Bible was given to a person I do not know by a person I do know. This is very interesting.

Intrigued, I continue my perusal. I turn the pages. I find a short devotional flyer from 1985. I find three unused envelopes. I find their cards some pages later. These cards have never seen the stain of ink. I find another card that has seen ink. This one is a birthday card. Geese are on the cover and a bland sentiment rests inside – “Love” followed by a few names scrawled by one hand. I find a newspaper clipping reporting the deeds of still another name, another person. Only two other items are within the pages – two school photographs of the same girl. These pictures are very small and the writing on their backs is faded.

I am holding small details of a woman’s life. Details of enough import to be safely tucked away in her Bible. Perhaps the devotionals and blank cards do not count as precious, but surely the card and photos and clipping meant something to this woman.

So, I ask…

…why was this tossed in a rummage sale pile? Was no one left to cherish her through holding on to the things she cherished? Did the names on the card not want her Bible?

I shudder to think that we too often discard people and their memory too readily. This rummage sale was at a senior housing complex. Her Bible was considered just one more thing to dispose of in the liquidation of her assets. I feel sick at the thought.

So, I ask myself…

what shall I do? Shall I run my agency as normal and find a new owner? Perhaps the new owner will cherish her Bible even though they do not know her. I might, but not until I contact the name I know.

I know who gave this woman this Bible. I know where they can be found. Perhaps they will want these memories and this Book. I only know that I cannot discard these unknown memories of a woman unknown to me without trying to find someone who cares.

If that cannot be accomplished, then I will find this book a home so that new memories can be added between its papges.

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