I had forgotten my Bible at home, and Mr. Whitehead, the Bible teacher at SCS, noticed that right off.
"Where's your Bible?" he asked as if he was talking to one of his sophomores.
"I didn't bring it," I answered.
"Whaddya a heretic?" he snapped back with a tone that could melt candle wax.
"No, I just forgot it," I retorted, wanting to crawl under the chair, but thought better of it.
"Humph!" he uttered with smugness.
During the break I hurried out to the exhibition hall and stopped at the first booth that had Bibles. "Show me the Cadillac," I said, "I want the best." My daddy used to say always buy the best and you'll never be disappointed in what you have.
With a gleam in his eye, the salesman whipped out a beautiful Burgundy leather bound version, with all the bells and whistles and then some complete with gold trim on the edges of the fine parchment.
"Wow," I said. "That'll impress 'em."
"Should I wrap it up for you?"
"I'll take it. No need to wrap it."
Rushing back, I was certain my offering would be worthy, but then I began to worry how Mr. Whitehead would look upon such an expensive beautiful Bible as I remembered reading how Nehemiah reacted to the scrolls of Ezra as he carried them to the newly built platform in Jerusalem just as he was about to speak to the throngs of people gathered to witness the rebuilding of the city. Nehemiah dropped to his knees and wept just at the sight of the scrolls.
Sweat started to bead on my brow as I thought of the spectacle Mr. Whitehead might make of himself. I breathed a sigh of relief when he took it reverently in his hands and began stroking it like a kitten. First he opened it to the center, bent it back pressing the back like a good chiropractor adjusting a spine. Then he repeated the process for each chapter first to the left of center and then to the right until he had completed the entire book. Next he held it up like a wet nurse holding up a newborn and suddenly bent the book nearly in half with his other hand flipping the pages the way a card shark shuffles his deck.
"Prevents the pages from sticking together," he explained.
"Sounds reasonable," I uttered nervously thinking 'he's going to ruin my brand new Bible'.
But it was quite marvelous watching him break in my new Bible the way Ken Griffey junior would break in a new glove. Finally with the second session nearly half over he'd returned my Bible, now properly adjusted, sanctified, rubbed, atoned, tuned, and blessed. With that done, I proudly took out my newly acquired magic marker set and picked out the color passion pink, and underlined my first verse.
A year and a half later I still hadn't colored in my new Bible anywhere near to the extent that the good Reverend had, but I'm sure Miss Ash, my Kindergarten teacher, would have awarded me at least one star for my effort.
That year I again roomed with Mr. Whitehead and Mr. Curt Gengzlinger; apparently they hadn't learned the first time how awful it is to stay awake all night listening to someone snore. Curt was the middle school math guy at SCS who had a habit of depleting Carolyn Watson's Kleenex supply every time she gave devotions. To be honest though, I shouldn't throw stones as it never has taken much of a tug on the shower cord to get my tear ducts flowing any touching story may do it. I even wept when I shot my first deer, and did so when each of my children was born, and then again when any of our family pets died, and I don't apologize for it.
The truth of the matter is - it's okay to show feelings and emotions to those who have the capacity and sensitivity to care and understand, and won't laugh or think less of you because of it. A person's true self-image isn't developed so much by what others think of us as it is from the relationships developed between the person and God. When you have an abiding Faith in a caring Creator it begins to bestow an inner peace that allows weathering the storms of every day life, and even when sad things happen, our true inner stability is unaffected knowing we are in His loving care.