I recently had the most enjoyable experience of going to see an old friend—“old,” as in older than I am, and those friends are becoming few and far between these days.
This friend’s name is Linda, and to be truthful, she really isn’t old. If anything, she’s one of those ageless people whose bodies might get saggy and wrinkled but whose mind and wit stay sharp to the end. I actually find myself feeling quite outdated and frumpy in her presence, though her ever-gracious spirit welcomes me wholeheartedly.
This was an especially nice visit, as Linda and I don’t live near one another and seldom get to spend time together. It was especially nice, therefore, when she discovered I was traveling through her neighborhood that she invited me to spend a night in her warm and spacious home. And what an enjoyable stay it was! Linda has the gift of hospitality, as does her husband who cooked us a marvelous dinner. Of course we spent hours afterward, talking and laughing about old times, but even that wasn’t the highlight of my visit. That came just before heading off to the charming guestroom where I slept like the proverbial baby.
Between our after-dinner chat and toddling off to bed, Linda took me into her library to view her treasures—books, of all sizes, shapes, bindings, and genres, particularly the shelves of ancient tomes with author names like Melville and Shakespeare and Frost and Michener. Oh, how she loved those books, and how she beamed as she showed them to me, one by one. We commented on each author and title, and closed our evening with the sad realization that many young people today have never read such books, or if they have, it was done out of compulsion rather than awestruck wonder.
“Treasures,” Linda mused. “How I long for young people to savor the treasures found in these books.” Then she held up her most beloved treasure in all her library—an old family Bible, passed down to her by her parents and her grandparents before them. “Especially this one,” she said, smiling. “So neglected by so many, and yet so full of timeless wisdom and life-changing words.”
I drifted off to sleep that night thinking of Linda’s comments about her treasures, praying that people everywhere would begin to hunger for the written word again, enough to break away from other pursuits and learn about the treasure found in books, particularly the Bible. For myself, personally, it was a poignant reminder of my own need to spend less time being “busy” and more time digesting “timeless wisdom and life-changing words.”