This week I started packing my books into boxes. I bought some boxes from a nearby source and had them in my office for several days. There was something about them that made it hard for me to put them together. A few days ago I finally forced myself to put a box together and start with a bookshelf to load it up. I actually had a bit of a hard time figuring out where to start. Now none of this is hard … putting together boxes … loading them up. Our move is becoming more of a reality and less of a theory at this point. And the first hurdle is the boxing up of my library.
I have a lot of books. Eight bookshelves full, I believe. Now I’m sure some have more than that, but that’s a lot to me. I’ve tried giving many of them away but there are some I just can’t let go of. I figure the day I give one away will be the day I needed some information from it! I’m a bit of a book fanatic, not that I’m a great reader. In fact I’m a slow reader. My mind takes something I’m reading and runs with it. I often have to turn back a few pages and re-read what I’ve read. It’s not that I didn’t get it, most of the time. It’s just that I’ve started thinking about something else in relation to what I just read. Not good. But that’s just me. Often I read aloud to try to focus … even pacing around my office trying not to trip on a chair.
To me, books represent all of the knowledge that I will never have. I love to be surrounded by them … to have them at my fingertips for reference. Sometimes I pick one at random and read a chapter. I have a few that I’ve been reading on for months … a chapter here or there. But in my office, all around me, is a universe of knowledge and faith spelled out in words combined into chapters and produced as books. I told you, I’m a fanatic! They’re not just ‘books’ to me, they are alive with God’s work in the lives of the authors.
Sometime last year Dusty told about someone who gave him a retired minister’s library. I related how jealous I was. Then I got an email from a man who’s father was a minister. He had passed away and the minister’s widow was looking to give the books to someone who would appreciate them. Last year at Tulsa Mrs. Dandridge gave me several boxes of books that belonged to her late husband. What a joy that was. I was very thankful to receive several books that mean a lot to me. I shared many with friends.
So when I started packing books it was not easy on my heart. I am packing away part of my identity. I packed away four boxes and I tell you, those four boxes have something in common. They are so heavy I can barely lift them! I think the boxes are too big, even though I tried to buy with weight in mind. I packed four and then stopped. I didn’t pack any yesterday … or today. Some empty shelves are looking at me with an air of accusation. I don’t mind, though, because they’ll be filled with the precious books belonging to another preacher.
I’m sure you may be expecting me to relate this writing to some grand spiritual theme. But I really just wanted to share some of my heart with you. Maybe I’ll pack some more tomorrow. But the day is coming quickly when I will unpack them in a new office and find a new home for them. I’ll sit in another office in a strange chair (and I hope a strong chair). I will be unable to resist taking a book at random from the shelf, opening it up to the beginning. Aren’t the first chapters always the best? I’ll look outside my door to make sure I’m alone. I will pace through the office looking at the words that some far away author decided to share with the world. His thoughts ended up in my hands. I will read them. And I will feel at home.
Thanks for reading.