There are a couple of things I’ve learned about myself over the years.
First off, there are a few things that it kills me to have to change. These things are usually items that may not look like anything to anyone else but without them in my day, and by ‘them’ I mean “them specifically”, it just feels wrong. (And for the record I’m going to have this 8 year old powerbook that I’m typing on for the rest of my life, thank you very much)
The second is that choosing a paint colour gives me nausea. Like we’re talkin’, I’m gonna throw up before I make this decision, kinda deal.
Today these two things came at me with no forewarning! I was blindsided! Sort of.
It all started yesterday upon leaving church when I made the decision in the back of my mind that it was time for a new bible. The one I currently use, and have used out, is one that holds special memories. I remember getting it. Where we were and the stage in life we were at. I see underlinings in it and I know exactly when and where those markings were made and what I was going through at the time so as to make them so important. This bible holds the scribbles of many sermons listened to, bible studies attended, morning devotions done. It holds hours of pouring over in search of clarity, wisdom, promises, truths. It has guided the way I parent my boys, it’s where I lead them time and again when they’re fighting with their brothers, when I see idols creeping into their lives, when I need to update the verse on our chalkboard.
I wasn’t ready to remember all of this as I was perusing the bibles on the store shelf today. I went in thinking, quite flippantly, that this would be great. A new season, new things going on in life, a new fresh bible with no markings, no coffee stains, no pages stuck together by who-knows-what. One that actually has a cover that is attached! One that doesn’t leave little leather pieces wherever it sits! Hurrah!
But as I looked at the shelves I was struck by those two things I sincerely dislike. Change. And choosing what to change to.
There were so many bibles. So many perfect bibles. Pristine pages and spines that had never been cracked. Covers that looked so new and this, in my mind, made them icky. So fancy, some of them.
The heart palpitations started to come and I could feel the nausea welling up in my abdomen.
I knew I wanted an ESV or an NASB so that narrowed it down. But did I want black or brown or pink with a little brown stripe? Did I want burgandy or taupe? Gold edges or silver?
It was suddenly all becoming too much. Too. too. much.
I tried to keep my breathing to a steady as I moved away from the ESV’s to a completely different section. Here I found mint, with a little brown leather closure thing. And the perfect vintage turquoise complete with a little bird sitting on a branch. Oh, there it is. The earth-friendly, made from recycled paper version. And the bible in a clutch. Does that box really say fashionable on it?
This is too much.
I turned to leave quickly and nearly took out an unsuspecting employee on the way. “Can I help you?” they asked. “No. No,” was all I could get out and I target locked my eyes on the doors, did not sway them again and got out of there.
I slumped into my car and told myself that my old bible is fine. I like it. It’s a reminder of days past and of where we’ve been. The coffee stains are from that service in the movie theatre where Phoenix tipped my cup and I didn’t even get angry just calmly told him that now I would be able to find Ecclesiastes so much quicker.
As I drove away I felt shameful for thinking I needed a new bible. I mean, who needs a cover anyways! I should be happy that I have the word of God in my hand no matter what condition its in. We’re so spoiled here in the first world! We have choices beyond measure about things that shouldn’t be a choice! Our cover does NOT need to be a reflection of our personal style. This is the word of God!!
I prayed as I drove.
I picked up my kids from school and marveled at their shiny faces and tousled hair.
I realized I was being ridiculous.
Yes, I live in the first world and yes, we have choices beyond what we need. But me NOT getting a bible because I didn’t like their packaging was just as arrogant as someone choosing a bible for the packaging.
I prayed some more as I looped the vehicle around and back to the store.
I walked back into the same section that I was in not even an hour before and I picked up a white NIV. In fact, it could be the exact bible I had as a child but I haven’t looked at it long enough to know. Because it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how its covered or not covered. It doesn’t matter if it has a pretty bird or not. This is the word of God. I’m excited to see where we go together.