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Weekly e-Gram for members and friends of Dublin Community Church

May 17, 2013

THE MERE EXISTENCE

A few weeks ago, I commented on the joys of owning a used book. Often times you will find a dedication in that book, perhaps a name and a city. It ties the book to an actual person and maybe even to a moment in their life.

When we were preparing for the Confirmation Retreat recently, Beth suggested that we needed a book on religious symbols for our banner making. Granted, one can hit “Google” and get any question answered; but at camp where we make the banners, we have limited bandwidth for smartphones. So, an old fashioned book will do.

I went into my office and rummaged on the bookshelves. And I found one. A book on banners and religious symbols. We could have used it these past seven years when banner-making but instead it was tightly packed on the bookshelf. Undiscovered. I liberated it and put it in the banner box for our retreat. And there it shall remain to enlighten us in the banner-making years ahead.

On the inside cover of the book was my name and address. I purchased it in seminary in Berkeley some 35 years ago. That means I have dragged it from California to Wisconsin to Washington State to Lancaster, Ohio and now Dublin. Just looking at the address (and phone number, a time when people had home phones) makes me stop and wonder. I can imagine the journeys that book, and thus, my family, have taken over the past decades.

I looked through my shelves and I can find a few books that I purchased in Africa nearly 40 years ago. Many of these books have outlasted friends and acquaintances. So the books tell two stories. One is the story in the pages themselves; the original purpose for my purchase. The second story is the story between the lines, the people and places in my life that have been associated with those books.

My sister in law, Jane, commented on my recent e-gram about used books by sending me a quote from Robert Moore (The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life) which is a fitting bookend to this e-gram.

Nor is meaning enough to explain the preciousness of a single book, for there is something about the mere existence of a book on the shelf that makes it a treasure and helps enchant one's life and home." 

Thank-you Janie.

Peace, Rev. Robert Tussing

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