Treasures In Leather

 For sin shall not have dominion over you:  for ye are not under the law, but under grace.   Romans 6:14

When in a store lineup waiting to check out and someone comes up behind me with just a few items, I will often tell them to go ahead.  Jokingly I say.. “Go ahead I’m retired,” before adding – “But mostly tired”.  Since they can tell by my white hair, and of course my body appearance, we both share a good chuckle as they gratefully slip in ahead of me.

I’ve noticed with aging that when I least expect it, the past comes bounding into the forefront of my mind.  Memories suddenly seem very vivid as I recall things I had not thought about for years.  I’m sure many of you, like me, relate well to this scenario of aging as we slide into third base just before our heavenly home run.

Recently a memory came into my mind of when I was around thirteen years old.  My family and I lived in a two story rented home about a mile out of Bracebridge.  Being a newbie in the saved by grace department, I had just arrived home from attending a Salvation Army service.  It must have been Sunday and a cold day as there was a hot fire in the cook stove heating our big family kitchen.  After my long walk, I was happy to get into the warmth of my home.

To my surprise my grandmother and grandfather from my mother’s side had come for a visit.  I can’t remember who had brought them to see us, but my mom, dad and three sisters were there along with this other couple, probably an aunt and uncle.

I was standing in the kitchen with my King James Bible firmly in my right hand.  Yes, the bible with the musical thee’s and thou’s, at least it was music to my young ears as it was opening up a whole new world, even though it was difficult at times for me to understand.

This used leather bound bible had been given to me from my best friend Ann Taylor after I began attending the Salvation Army.  To cover this wonderful treasured gift, I had picked up a hand tooled leather bible cover with a colorful stamped mosaic on the front, a silk lining inside, all bound and hand sewn with a leather binding.  I bought it at a Rummage Sale at a little Anglican Church in the country for the pricey sum of twenty-five cents.  For a young girl in the early 1950’s it took all of my weekly allowance. 

My bible was smaller but was protected well by this covering.  I was so happy to own these treasures in leather.

This is the only time I remember my mom’s parents coming to visit us in Bracebridge.  I had only met them a few times in my life so did not know them well, and when around them, I was a little shy.  However, what happened next shocked me, and was contrary to my previous knowledge of this seemingly quiet, timid, grandmother.

When she saw the Bible in my hand she shouted at me “Give me that Bible and I will throw it in the fire!”  This as she lifted the stove lid and the flames seemed to leap out in hungry anticipation.

In total shock, I clutched my treasure to my chest and shouted “No you won’t burn my Bible”, and ran through the kitchen, down the hall and up the stairs to my bedroom.

I remember my mom coming to the bottom of the stairs and half heartedly calling out… “Sybil you don’t talk to your grandmother that way!”  I think she was in as much shock as I was at what had just transpired.

I like to think that as I age I’ve acquired a little wisdom along the way.  My grandmother was a strong Roman Catholic and during her lifetime only the Priest was allowed to have a Bible, and only he could read and teach it to the congregation.  I’m sure she thought I was in danger of going to hell, and was trying to protect me.

Fortunately over the years that has changed, and my sister Maxine reads, studies and teaches the Bible at her Catholic church.  I like to think my grandmother loved Jesus, but got mixed up with the trappings of religious dogma and ritual.  How often has Satan sidetracked us with what man has proclaimed to be godly when in truth it is just the opposite.

Thank you Lord Jesus for the grandmother you gave to me. For my mother and father allowing me to seek You for myself.  For my loving, generous friend Ann who has been in your presence for years.  For the lessons learned through unusual and sometimes painful happenings.  Thank you for your grace and mercies which are new to me every morning.

And thank you for  memories of my treasure wrapped in leather that you blessed me with all those years ago, and which I still have and treasure to this day.

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