Every year at this time, I think of Mom and her birthday on April 28. I do wish I could take her breakfast in bed. And I wish I could hear her voice, see her broad smile.
Instead, I sit at my desk and look at the china mug she brought me from Oxford, and the painting on my office wall of an older woman teaching a younger woman to knit—something I gave her years ago, perhaps for her birthday. And I finger gently one book—a book sitting permanently on the filing cabinet in my office.
This book, worn and tattered, belonged to my great-grandmother. My mom called her Gam. Because Gam died during Mom’s college years, I only know Gam through Mom’s stories about her and this book I have. Mom told me that Gam loved to encourage people, loved to cook, and loved to go to church (often taking her grand-daughter with her).
I often “stole” Gam’s book from Mom on trips home during college and beyond. Especially when I felt disconnected from God and confused about life.
Because generations ago a wise, kind woman read this book, cherished this book, and depended on this book to see her through hard and sad times.
So, today I reach for Gam’s book, her Bible, written in the King’s English.
As I open the pages, little tidbits of weathered paper flutter to the floor, bits of poetry and devotional sayings she had clipped from church bulletins and newspapers and used as bookmarks in her Bible. A pressed flower stills sits peacefully between Jeremiah 29 and Jeremiah 30. All of it beckons me to linger, to read, to remember.
“My life is but a weaving
Between my Lord and me.
At times He weaveth sorrow,
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the under side.”
“I know a peace
Where there is no peace,
A calm where the wild winds blow,
A secret place
Where face to face
With the Master I may go.”
“The grave itself is but a covered bridge.
Leading from light to light through a brief darkness.” April 2, 1953
Oh, the comfort of those words. Especially on this day.
And then I land on some particular, perspective-setting words in Psalm 90:1-2, bookmarked in Gam’s Bible by more yellowed clippings. I leave you with these words. May they bring you comfort today as they did me.
“LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.“