“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” (excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit by Marjery Williams)
I miss my Bible. If you can make out the picture above, you will see on the right is my much beloved and binding worn off and cover missing Bible. Next to it on the left is my newer Bible with smooth pages and with leather that is still quite stiff.
It became apparent early last year that my NIV study Bible had seen better times. Actually it had seen me through plenty of times and was my treasured companion through the joys and sorrows of life. It is full of underlines…some straight and some a bit misaligned…asterisks and notes…dates that denote when a verse jumped from the page…dates for scriptures that have become life verses or my personal verse(s) for the year. There are notes from sermons and teachings. There are names of people that I love etched into the margins…scriptures I am claiming for them and ones they have claimed or spoken over my life. There are bold circular scribbles from one of the girls that I was happy had landed on the blank pages in the back and not actual word filled pages. I am sure there are a few water marked pages that have held my tears and at times seemed to have collected in the safe harbor of the Lord’s comfort…my ever present help in times of trouble. There are a few actual tears in the pages from careless fast turning and a binding that did all it could to support my bad habit of turning my Bible nearly inside out…
My husband has kidded me about my love of Bibles…I have many and different sizes and translations but none was like my dear Bible. None of them felt the same…or had traveled the same road with me.
This morning, I searched my new companion and was discouraged that I couldn’t find the verse I was looking for…you see, I could see exactly where it was on the page of my retired one. Perhaps I should be better at memorizing the addresses…hmmm. Then I turned to the concordance and of course it is different…it doesn’t encompass the same words because it is a different study Bible.
I read Psalm 46 as well this morning one of my all time favorite psalms…yet the page was smooth and without a single mark…how could that be? I grabbed my pen and was ready to underline the whole of it…but then I stopped…what that psalm meant to me in the past may mean something new to me in the present and future…so I just put a single star at the top…am I making too much out of this…possibly so…
There is that age old song that says:
Make new friends and keep the old,
one is silver and the other gold…
Today I look upon my old friend…it has been my steadfast and loyal companion…and it has been golden to me and it will always be there…as a reminder…a visual document of this journey of faith…I outstretch my hand and take hold of a new friend…as every good friend was once just an acquaintance…but with time and conversation…great deep rich friendships are forged. We may not know all the back stories but God does and can and will fill in the gaps and help find the missing verses…
About 6-8 weeks ago, Carl called me upstairs and told me that I had to see what Caleb was doing…he was sitting on the living room floor with his children’s Bible in his small lap…he had pen in hand and when I asked him what he was doing he said,
“Hi Mom, I’m writing in my Bible…just like you!”
Caleb and I will soon have our Bibles lined with God’s promises…truths…lessons…love. He’s just starting out on this path and I begin again with Jesus who is the same yesterday, today and forever.
“How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path…
My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.”
Psalm 119: 103-105, 112
May God bless you today as you search His Word and find friendship within the pages,
P.S. Why don’t you tell me about your favorite Bible?