Great 365 Day Purge - Day Seven


January 7, 2014

Day Seven of "The Great 2014 Purge."

But I do not shred the Bible I've kept in my trunk for years, given to me during the short span of time when I attended Sunday School at the local Lutheran church. This Bible, Good News for a New Age, consists strictly of the New Testament and has several passages marked in pencil or underlined in orange highlighter, passages that must have spoken to me at one time: Luke 12:15-22...Corinthians 2:5...Romans 1:12...John 14:15.

I scratch out my name, neatly penciled in the inside cover, and put the Bible in the giveaway box.

* * *

I remember sitting in the family room struggling through the family Bible, trying to work my way through the begats, telling myself that if I didn't start at the very beginning and read every word, then my efforts were invalid.


I remember going to a friend's Sunday morning Bible study group, after spending the night at her house. When the leader instructed us to turn to a certain chapter and verse, I flipped frantically back and forth through the Bible I'd picked up from the cart at the front of the room. The other students watched me expectantly until my friend turned to the proper page for me. Later, she asked me if I'd been saved. I had no idea what she meant by this; had no idea how to respond to such a question. She told me she'd been saved on the telephone and I wondered if there was a number people dialed in order to be assured a place in heaven.

I remember lying awake at night, imagining heaven an immense blackness...a blackness rolling over and over itself like an ocean wave. I imagined myself there, hanging in heaven, waiting all alone in all that darkness.

And I remember the bus driver, too, from when I was nine. At her first stop, she called the students to attention. We paid her no mind: Christmas vacation had begun and we kids were in jolly moods. "I have a present for you," she said, her eyes watching us in the long rearview mirror. She stood and held up a candy cane and a book: several sheets of two by three pieces of construction paper in varying colors, held together by two neat staples. As she turned each page in the book, she went on to explain its meaning: black represented sin...red was for blood...white for the cleansing of sins...gold for God...green for growth in faith.

"Don't forget," she said, opening the bus doors and pressing a candy cane and a book into the palm of my hand. I ate the candy cane immediately and put the wordless book into one of my drawers, occasionally taking it out to try and recall the meaning of each color. I held onto it for many years because I thought I'd be punished somehow were I to discard it.

I don't remember when I finally worked up the courage to get rid of the Christmas book, but I still have two crosses, crocheted with blue ribbons woven into them. I have no idea how these crosses came to take up space in my trunk. I do know that I've had them...and ignored them...for years. They'll better serve someone who will treasure them. These join the Bible in the giveaway box. Finally, I add to the box the Missal I stole from the Catholic church, the day I converted to my husband's faith.

As a Protestant, I was taught that communion bread and wine are symbolic of Christ's sacrifice. As a Catholic, I was taught that the wine and bread are the actual body and blood of Christ.

What do I believe?

I believe that giving away an unused Bible does not make me irreverent.

I believe that someone will treasure these crocheted crosses.

I believe I can navigate my way around a Bible pretty well now and that the Beatitudes are my favorite parts to read.

Most of all I believe that arguing over religious differences is the surest way to lose faith.




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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Great 365 Day Purge - Day Seven

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Great 365 Day Purge - Day Seven


January 7, 2014

Day Seven of "The Great 2014 Purge."

But I do not shred the Bible I've kept in my trunk for years, given to me during the short span of time when I attended Sunday School at the local Lutheran church. This Bible, Good News for a New Age, consists strictly of the New Testament and has several passages marked in pencil or underlined in orange highlighter, passages that must have spoken to me at one time: Luke 12:15-22...Corinthians 2:5...Romans 1:12...John 14:15.

I scratch out my name, neatly penciled in the inside cover, and put the Bible in the giveaway box.

* * *

I remember sitting in the family room struggling through the family Bible, trying to work my way through the begats, telling myself that if I didn't start at the very beginning and read every word, then my efforts were invalid.


I remember going to a friend's Sunday morning Bible study group, after spending the night at her house. When the leader instructed us to turn to a certain chapter and verse, I flipped frantically back and forth through the Bible I'd picked up from the cart at the front of the room. The other students watched me expectantly until my friend turned to the proper page for me. Later, she asked me if I'd been saved. I had no idea what she meant by this; had no idea how to respond to such a question. She told me she'd been saved on the telephone and I wondered if there was a number people dialed in order to be assured a place in heaven.

I remember lying awake at night, imagining heaven an immense blackness...a blackness rolling over and over itself like an ocean wave. I imagined myself there, hanging in heaven, waiting all alone in all that darkness.

And I remember the bus driver, too, from when I was nine. At her first stop, she called the students to attention. We paid her no mind: Christmas vacation had begun and we kids were in jolly moods. "I have a present for you," she said, her eyes watching us in the long rearview mirror. She stood and held up a candy cane and a book: several sheets of two by three pieces of construction paper in varying colors, held together by two neat staples. As she turned each page in the book, she went on to explain its meaning: black represented sin...red was for blood...white for the cleansing of sins...gold for God...green for growth in faith.

"Don't forget," she said, opening the bus doors and pressing a candy cane and a book into the palm of my hand. I ate the candy cane immediately and put the wordless book into one of my drawers, occasionally taking it out to try and recall the meaning of each color. I held onto it for many years because I thought I'd be punished somehow were I to discard it.

I don't remember when I finally worked up the courage to get rid of the Christmas book, but I still have two crosses, crocheted with blue ribbons woven into them. I have no idea how these crosses came to take up space in my trunk. I do know that I've had them...and ignored them...for years. They'll better serve someone who will treasure them. These join the Bible in the giveaway box. Finally, I add to the box the Missal I stole from the Catholic church, the day I converted to my husband's faith.

As a Protestant, I was taught that communion bread and wine are symbolic of Christ's sacrifice. As a Catholic, I was taught that the wine and bread are the actual body and blood of Christ.

What do I believe?

I believe that giving away an unused Bible does not make me irreverent.

I believe that someone will treasure these crocheted crosses.

I believe I can navigate my way around a Bible pretty well now and that the Beatitudes are my favorite parts to read.

Most of all I believe that arguing over religious differences is the surest way to lose faith.




Labels: , ,

2 Comments:

At January 7, 2014 at 5:44 AM , Blogger j umbaugh said...

What a great story, going from a desire to purging the things that clutter our lives, to a great finish somewhat unrelated maybe, but maybe a purging of baggage that we tend to carry.

"What do I believe?
I believe that giving away an unused Bible does not make me irreverent.
I believe that someone will treasure these crocheted crosses.
I believe I can navigate my way around a Bible pretty well now and that the Beatitudes are my favorite parts to read.
Most of all I believe that arguing over religious differences is the surest way to lose faith"

How profound!.

 
At January 7, 2014 at 11:23 AM , Blogger Misha Gericke said...

I agree with you. I believe that people put too much stock in the physical of religion and too little in the spiritual of faith.

Someone might really need that Bible, after all.

 

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