Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Voices of Books

I received a gift of three books; I wondered if their destiny involved the madness of gagging their voice.

I enjoy books, I cherish books, I treasure books. Yet, my books mock me. Each book echoes a voice representing an opportunity never fulfilled, a knowledge never realized. I spent my first twenty years of adulthood collecting ideas to feed my life and propel my work, my recent two years peddling bindings to clear my mind and ease my burden. I scan the rows of my books regularly hoping to stop the voices of the books from calling out my name to engage their ideas, plots and calls to action. I am more weary from their calls than when my own children kept me up all hours of the night. At least my babies' voices represented something new. Some of my books have chided me since my teenage years.

Some of the voices attached to books involve professors who deemed their texts essential, reminding me of an enervated faith because I failed to heed their value as a student, or ignored their wisdom as a pastor. Some of the voices link me to colleague testimonials, which assured me of peace, efficiency, or enlightenment. These voices can't believe I ignored a call to transform my entire life, detailed on the pages of their texts.

Other books represent the voices of old and true friends. It matters not the frequency I call their name. They always respond with welcome and a gentle reminder of a conversation we shared years ago. These books encourage me through their recollection of my gifts and how I nourished the world with my utterances, The old friends have their own friends who I still long to know. I gaze at their title, glance at their contents and know that we will meet and talk like we have known each other for years, yet still have something to learn.

Today I spoke my peace to another array of voices selling me the wares of their publications. I don't have to listen to you anymore. I'm taking you to Goodwill where someone else can hear your voice. Don't call me. I'll call you. Maybe we can meet at the public, university or seminary library in seven years.


  1. I love this piece.

    I was at Goodwill two days ago, looking at books. They all said, "Pick me, pick me!" Glad yours weren't there yet to add to the cacophony. As it was I walked away with two; and now they say "Read me, read me!" And I think the others are jealous.

    Great bit of writing, Pastor!

  2. Quiet around here. I hear crickets . . .