Written By Mathilda Cronje
A second-hand bookstore always grabs my attention. I love to browse through the books that usually are sorted and shelved in alphabetical order. Sometimes you may find random books piled up on a table or two on special offer, sometimes for only ten rand or less. I normally don’t lookout for a special topic, but books about crafts are always on the top of my list. I can spend hours just picking up one book after the other, perhaps only looking at the cover or maybe just scanning through the contents page. Browsing through them and some of the content takes me to another world.
As a child, I used to read a lot but nowadays reading is on the side-line, although I love to read my Bible. I do however, still have a special shelf with my favourite books.
During a visit to such a second-hand bookstore, there were a few books that were of interest to me, but somehow one book stood out for me. It was a small book with a pretty cover with an illustration of a vase with flowers next to a little house and a bird sitting on the roof of this house.
The storyline portrayed a daughter’s relationship and love for her mother. I paged through the book. There were lots of captions next to almost every paragraph and on every page, taking one into the thoughts and mind of the daughter who gave this as a gift to her mother. In fascination, I thought that I should buy this. That this little book, once very private and personal, was now up for sale made me wonder why a book of such personal value could end up in a second-hand bookstore.
At home, I could not wait to read it. I made myself a mug of coffee and sat down on the couch. As mentioned, the book was about a daughter who loved and appreciated her mother and thanked her for making her feel loved, safe, secure, and cared for, and for being such an inspiration to her. Most importantly, it described how much she loved her mother and that she would always keep her in her heart.
What captured my imagination and attention was the handwritten captions next to the print on each page of the book. It was at a special time in her life that a daughter gave this little book to her mother. Apart from the fact that this book said it all, it was important for this daughter to put down in her own words the thoughts of how much she loved and appreciated her mom. The home where she grew up was a safe place. She thanked her mother once again for her motivation and inspiration. She loved the music her mother played and her lovely singing voice that filled the house; her mom who scratched her back each morning to wake her up. How wonderful!
Again, I asked myself why a precious little book like this ended up in a second-hand bookstore and did not go back to the person who gifted it to the mother. All kinds of thoughts were going through my mind of what could have happened. Did the mother moved to an old age home and stored all her books in a box as there might not be room for it all? Maybe she became ill and/or passed away. Or maybe the daughter moved overseas and was not able to sort out all her mother’s belongings. And now it happened to land in a second-hand bookstore and was not thrown away. Now I was fortunate enough to notice it and buy it.
After finishing the book, I could not help but think of my mother. I also loved my mother and appreciated everything that she did for and meant to me. Strangely enough, I never wrote her love letters as a girl, but only after I left home and started to miss her, I had the urge to write her letters. After she passed away, we children had the opportunity to go through all her belongings. I was so moved to see that she kept all the letters I had written through the years. That was very, very special to me.
I know there will also come a time in my life that I will have to pass on my special books, but I hope that on that day I would be able to give them to someone who would appreciate my taste of special books. I wouldn’t want them to end up, like this little book of love, in a second-hand bookstore.
This brings me to another book. A book that I know for sure will never be a second-hand book, even though it might land in a second-hand bookstore. This book, the Book of Life, always has good news that will never get old! 1 Peter 1:25 says, “’…but the word of the Lord remains forever.’ And this word is the good news that was preached to you” (ESV). This book gives you direction as Psalm 119:105 says, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light on to my path” (ESV). “Every Word of God is tried and purified. He is a shield to those who trust and take refuge in Him” (Proverbs 30:5).
Isn’t it wonderful to know that, just as the daughter expressed her love and appreciation for her mother, one may make side notes in this book about what the Word teaches us about the love the Father has for us and of our devotion to Him. This book is complete through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross; he died and has risen from the dead so that our sins can be forgiven, and so that we may have everlasting life. It tells us that God so loved the world that nobody should perish (John 3:16). Also that, “It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed because His (tender) compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness.” Lamentations 3: 22-23 (AMPC).