A reflection from my dad, aka Keith Harder
We were moving to smaller quarters and needed to downsize, including downsizing our library. Books collected over years that documented my intellectual and spiritual pilgrimage and their authors who were my friends and mentors and in some cases my tormentors needed to go. Lovingly I held each book and tried to remember its impact on my life and why I kept it before it was sent to a second hand bookstore or library or the trash.
And then there were the Bibles that filled one whole shelf that were outdated or literally falling apart. There were Bibles that we inherited from our parents and Bibles that we had received as children. There were Bibles that we read to our children and Bibles that we used in college and seminary. Bibles that had inspired us, challenged us, disturbed us and bemused us. Bibles that inspired sermons and Bibles that had been marked up but also neglected and ignored.
What should we do with these Bibles? On line resources said they should be burned or buried. Making a big enough fire to burn multiple thick books was impractical. So we opted to bury them. On a cold day in November we dug a hole in the coral and deposited the Bibles with gratitude and some remorse and some anticipation for when we will join them. From dust to dust and ashes to ashes.
Click here to read more about this tradition of burning or burying sacred literature: https://collegevilleinstitute.org/bearings/blessed-and-burned/
Thanks for sharing this, Ruth. It was especially moving as we are in the same process. Just as your parents experienced, our books have been such friends. We grieved when we had to discard so many when we left Japan. We brought back too many, though, and are still going through the prolonged pain. Did you take some of the older Bibles to keep in the Family? I have a huge Bible that was my great great grandfather’s Bible that he carried as a Methodist Circuit Rider during the Civil War. It is either water- stained from rain or sweat-stained from the horse he rode. I hope one of the next generation will cherish it as I do, and as my mother did when she received it.