January 7, 2014
Day Seven of "The Great 2014
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
* * *
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.
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
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
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Labels: Consumption, essay, Great 365 Day Purge