The cats have been uneasy this afternoon, Lucy finally slinking away to hide in her sanctuary. She nestles among my shoes until she finds the small blanket that’s been placed there for her, a soft spot in the wardrobe that serves as her refuge during scary thunderstorms.
The great room is slightly darkened. Thunder rumbles, but no rain has come
And I’m sitting beside a bookcase, sifting through the books.
We’ve been given several boxes of books. Theological tomes, mostly, with a few leadership manuals and the like thrown in. It’s a wonderful collection, a treasure we look forward to exploring. These books once belonged to my daughter-in-law’s father who was, among other things, a Bible professor. We’ve sorted through them, trying to see which ones we want to have more readily accessible.
Of course, it isn’t welcoming the new books that’s the difficulty; it’s deciding which of the old ones will have to be moved, given away or donated.
I haven’t actually sorted the books in quite awhile. I’ve thought about it, of course, as something I should get to at some point. But we have enough books that it’s a major undertaking, and it simply never rose to the top of the priority list until now.
As I’ve been sorting, though, I’ve realized something. As a reader, I’d been putting off getting rid of old friends; instead, it’s become a cathartic process.
Some of the books were from various publishing houses I’d been affiliated with through the years, but with which I have no current contact; some were integral to a church we once attended, but that had through time devolved into an unhealthy place. Some hold aspects of a theological story that no longer seems to be our story.
And so it is no hardship to remove these books to make room for the new ones. The old books speak to things we’ve come through, and places we’ve been. The new books speak to the classes we’re taking, the desire to learn and to grow; the idea that our God is too big to be constrained by small ideas and theologies that limit Him to what we can see and to steps we can take.
I’ve come to realize over the past months that my view of God has grown; it’s as though God Himself has grown in my eyes. He’s larger than my problems, more vast than my fears. While I’ve long known that intellectually, I’ve been experiencing it more and more. And that seems to be symbolized by the books on our shelves.
So I’m pulling out the old so that we can grow into the new. Pushing aside the outmoded so we can lean forward with expectancy, looking to see where God will take us next.
Not a bad way to spend a rainy afternoon.