Monday, July 13, 2009

The woman who wanted a Bible

Our store is in the middle of our annual Summer Sale. Part of the sale includes what we refer to as Porch Books. They are books that were on sale last summer and then throughout the rest of the year, and still have not sold. We put them in display boxes on our front porch (well, it is hardly a porch, but it is outside the front door).

Another part of this story concerns a few of our visitors who see the world differently than I do. One woman came in this week carrying two Porch Books. She asked, “Are these Bibles?” One was a full-size hardcover book that was a Church Annual that lists all of the congregations, their addresses, and the names of the clergy. It is certainly not a Bible. The other was a non-descript paperback book. It was very obvious to me that neither of those books were Bibles. I replied to her, “No, those are not Bibles. Do you want a Bible?” “Yes,” she said and immediately deposited those two books on the counter and went back outside. She then came in with two other books and asked if they were Bibles. Once again I said “No.” And, I asked if I could help her find a Bible. She wanted a Bible for one dollar but we did not have one for even $10 that I may have given to her for a dollar. She finally purchased a dollar book that included some Bible quotes in it.

What was obvious to me was that this woman could not read. She had no idea about what the words inside a book looked like to be called a Bible. I was deeply saddened that she was so handicapped that she could not determine on her own the kind of contents that was in a book. A bible usually has written on its cover the word “Bible.” She could not determine even that much. Another feeling that I had for her was worry about how vulnerable that woman was to anyone who could read words when she couldn’t. How easily she could be taken advantage of or be harmed by people who know the meaning of written words. At the same time, she knew that having a bible was important and she wanted one, even if she could not read it.

Ah. My heart hurts for her.

1 comment:

SPihl said...

I have ordered many times from your store and have always felt the warmth and caring of your ministry in the little handwritten notes on my invoice.

As for the woman who wanted a Bible - every day I encounter patients who can not read. I too have often wondered how these folks have survived in our world. A thought that occurred to my husband as we read your post - if she ever comes to your store again. How wonderful would it be to have an inexpensive MP3 player on hand for such a person? There are free audio versions of the Bible available on - all items in the public domain. If some of us were willing to contribute to such a project, you could have a pre-loaded MP3 player available to give to such a searching soul as the woman you encountered. Some of us even have old MP3 players that could be donated. What a way to spread God's Word and love! Ah, I dream. I'm sure you have your hands full but it does give me an idea for the future. FHS, Stephanie