A good, long look at the crumbling cover and dog-eared pages of my mother’s old Bible brings back memories of bedtime prayers. Mom has been in heaven since February of 2010, but that sacred book transports me back to when she was Mommy.
An inscription from Dad dates the Bible from before my birth. Mom’s maiden name is barely readable in gold leaf on the cover. Two references are penned onto the dirty first page. One – John 3:5 – is unmistakably written by my eldest brother.
The backward scrawl reminds me of the years when the old Bible was passed around, carried to church and claimed as “mine” by three different boys. Mom didn’t often get to carry the Bible herself while we were growing up, but we frequently found her reading it at home when we came in from paper routes or baseball games.
On another page is an inscription from Dad. “To Bonnie, in loving remembrance of October 21, 1942 – Your devoted Red. Matthew 19:6.” He had been nearly 19, she 16, when they were engaged. World War II and his 32 months in the Pacific delayed their marriage until December, 1945.
Scanning the pages, I note Mom’s countless underlinings of passages that foretell of heaven. The penciled markings have faded, and the inked jottings have bled through to other pages. But evidence remains of well-listened-to sermons and cherished hours alone in the Word.
On the final page she wrote “Psalm 37:4,” referring to the verse, “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Mom’s first desire, she often told us, was that her sons would trust Christ. We have all done that.
She seemed to always delight herself in the Lord, a continual encouragement to us to do something constructive with the hands that scribbled in her Bible so many years ago.
Mom’s old Bible reminds me of her hands – hands that held, spanked and wiped tears – hands that produced a magic knot in the shoelaces on my three-year-old feet.
Mom’s hands turned the pages of her old Bible for me until I learned to read it myself. Eventually she turned them for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, passing along her love for the Word to yet another generation.
Today Mom delights herself in the very presence of her Lord, and her old Bible has become a treasured relic, a tribute to her legacy of faith.