I love a good book, don’t you?! You know, the kind you can’t wait to sit down and read… but then can’t bear to close up for even a little bit to take care of other responsibilities!
I grew up an avid reader ever since I can remember. But, it became more intense in 4th grade at East Palmyra Christian School when our teacher, Mrs. Witt, set up a reading competition. I came in second by only three books! Next, after moving to Clifton, NJ, I was the only student at Passaic Christian School allowed to sign out three books each week instead of two… simply because they knew I read fast and voraciously while keeping up with homework and catechism.
Then, my Dad introduced me to one of his childhood favorites, “Penrod and Sam”, at Clifton’s Public Library near Christopher Columbus Jr. High (formerly Clifton High School where my Dad graduated). Though a bit over my head at the time, I progressed on to reading everything I could about the pioneers’ treks westward, along with cowboys, cattle ranching and cattle drives on the famous trails. They knew which landmarks to follow and where the dangers lay. I favored Zane Grey western fiction, historical biographies and autobiographies, in-depth looks at our nation’s presidents and major wars from historical overview to personal perspective, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulag Archipelago”, Corrie ten Boom’s books including “The Hiding Place” of her survival and release by clerical error from Ravensbruck prison camp, books about other Holocaust survivors, and so much more of history. Though I have enjoyed other fiction novels, they are not my preferred genre. I much prefer stories of life’s reality and how others overcame their difficulties.
Sometimes, I’ll read the jacket introduction and then a few scattered lines on random pages, or at least part of the beginning when choosing a book. I don’t want to know the ending… not just yet! But then, with book in hand, I long to read uninterrupted from start to finish… building up to a great finale! There are even a few good books I’ve read multiple times to renew the memories, simply because each book held an absolutely great story!
Life is like that open book, read and treasured by those who care… or perhaps read and set aside till later, or even returned to the shelf if it doesn’t quite pique our interest. And, yet, life happens in the mundane as we go to work, take care of our home and family, and find our place in the world while the book has to be set aside for a time between reads.
And though it’s been said that our life’s ending is like closing a book, it’s also like that favorite book on the shelf which you can open at any time to recall precious memories. Still, it’s what’s in between the front and back covers, and the characters portrayed, that makes all the difference in the quality of the book read and re-read… or in the life well lived.
In reality, though our life may be lived outwardly like an open book, it’s the inner heart and mind that others cannot read well. We contemplate life quietly and hold some treasures private and close to our heart. And that’s a good thing. When the world out there thinks they know everything about you, they really don’t. Our personal life belongs to us… a touch of a mystery to others.
Yet, we can’t hide any detail from our God. He knows our every thought, word and deed… In fact, He knows our whole life story from start to finish! “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in - behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? … For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. …All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be… Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:1-7, 13, 16, 23)
And in this psalm above, I find comfort knowing how much our great and sovereign God loves and knows me, and you, thoroughly… like an open book.
An Open Book
Linda A. Roorda
Like an open book, read by those who care
Are pages of life exposed at each turn
Where intricate themes are gently revealed
In lessons learned and wisdom gained.
Those who will judge a book by its cover
Haven’t a clue of treasure within
You cannot observe life standing afar
For only up close are depths understood.
There once was a day when this book was new
Brightly shining with promise and hope
What was to come with dreams to fulfill
Began to unfold as pages were turned.
Now the cover’s worn, the pages are frayed
For a life lived well is not one of ease
As wear and tear are evidence clear
Of storms that raged to bring days of peace.
Notice the stains from tears that once flowed
Yet take the time to ponder their cause
For fragile feelings are those in response
To emotions from the depths of the heart.
Imperfections rise from pages of wear
Reality seen on turning the leaf
Yet with each turn the past fades away
That yesterday’s wound brings tomorrow’s mend.
For a gentle love restores with mercy
As One who redeems these pages will cleanse
The story renewed, a witness to all
Of life’s true meaning and value within.
Then as you read final pages slow
Tenderly hold life’s treasure in hand
And gently close the cover for now
To understand this life well lived.
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May not be reproduced without permission of author.