Friday, February 16, 2007

My Mama's Bible

As I sat this morning with my Bible open on my lap, stealing a few quiet moments, my thoughts wandered, which is not at all unusual. When my eyes fell on the page I saw a column of Scripture that had been "decorated" with the delicate scribbles of a brown pencil crayon. A page or two later there are markings from a blue pen and a page that has been torn out and is waiting for the healing touch of some tape. It was these things that caused my thoughts to roam to my Mama's Bible....
It is worn, well worn, mostly from the countless hours she's spent reading it over the years. How well I remember the sight of her sitting, Bible in hand, seemingly oblivious to the noise of her five children playing, laughing, fighting, and otherwise being loud! She had an amazing ability to do several things at once, like most mommies do, but when it came to reading she could be in a different place, nearly oblivious to the chaos around her. We used to joke about it, but now I think it may be a gift that has preserved her sanity. I remember her sweet voice reading to us from her Bible, words of correction or comfort or encouragement. As a small child she read me verses to calm my fears, and she's read me those same Scriptures as I've labored to deliver my babies, or more recently as I lay in the Emergency Room when we lost our little Esther. Over the years I've seen those Scriptures as well, copied in her own hand and tucked into envelopes for me to read as I've gone off on adventures around the world.
Some of the wear on her Bible has come, not from her own use of it, but from her children, from young artists trying out their talents, from tiny hands who crumble and tear whatever they can. It's probably been dropped and thrown and who knows what else! The binding is loose and the gilding on the page edges is long gone. The leather cover is soft and supple.
Stuck between the pages of her Bible are five pink paper hearts. On each one is written the name of one of us, her children. Beneath the name is a list of things she prays for us. I remember she showed them to me once, when I was a young teenager. One of the things she prayed was for the person we would eventually marry. Now we're all in our twenties and thirties, grown, four of us married and three with children of our own; I imagine the items for prayer have changed a bit as we've grown, but I know she still prays. I see the pink edges of those hearts peeking out between the soft and worn pages of her Bible.
My Mama's Bible is beautiful to me, not only because it's familiar and worn, but because its very words are so much a part of who she is. It has shaped her and molded her; she has fallen in love with, and become more like, it's Author over the years. I love her for that; I want to be like her when I "grow up".
My Bible is still relatively "new". It's page edges remain somewhat shiny, and only a few pages have recently been marked and torn by sweet little hands. My morning quiet time is often interrupted these days by a small boy who comes out in his jammies, eyes blinking in the light. He climbs into my lap, still warm from the coziness of his bed, and lays his head on my chest. Some of his first words lately have been "Mom, will you read to me some Bible?" It's almost enough to melt my heart, that he wants to hear the Old, Old Story, that he wants to be with me. I pray that he not only hears the words, but sees the Story lived out in the lives of his Mama and Daddy, just as I have seen it lived out in my parents. I pray that these words become part of him, that they mold and shape his life, and that someday he will pass them on to his own children.

4 comments:

  1. I love this reflection - and what a sweet thing your mom does.

    I recently bought a new bible, and while I love it, I do miss my old one - it was falling apart, but it had the story of my faith journey written in it - the phrases that caught me as a teenager, as a new mom, as a non-Christian, as an Orthodox inquirer, as an Orthodox woman.

    My new one doesn't have that story written yet.

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  2. What an awesome legacy your mother has passed down to you, and that now you are passing down to your children. This is a very beautiful picture that you have painted.

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  3. kimberly6:29 PM

    Sweet!

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  4. Congratulations on becoming catecumens! How exciting.

    We are going to be chrismated the Saturday before Pasca. We are really excited/anxious. I can't wait to actually take the eucarist again.

    I hope that all is going well. Keep us updated :)

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