The shop was long and narrow, dimly lit by naked bulbs dangling from the ceiling. It was a shadowed, solemn, wondrous place, tucked away in a dusty corner of the city where shops didn't sparkle like the department stores over on Main. Mysterious and musty it was; filled with rows and racks and piles of volumes. Used hardbacks, yellowing paperbacks, comics... all stacked haphazardly and ready for a rummager's quest.
I'd step out of the light of day and onto
the squeaky wood floor in search of buried treasure. It was my own personal library, and the best part was: I could read the books and then -
I could keep them!
No need to keep close tabs on them, no stamps inside warning that this was a
"14 day book," no falling in love with a whole fictional family only to
have to dump them on a counter at the end of the month.
I was allowed to buy all of the books I could carry, pretty much.. and
this because of the kind man who took me to the bookstore: my father,
who (okay, I'll admit it) spoiled me. Rather than leaving me home on a
Saturday so he could go rummage for his own treasures at "our bookshop,"
he patiently took his bubbly little buddy and shelled out
who-knows-how-much for mystery stories I would stay up much too late
reading. I think back now and imagine the one sided "conversations" he
had to endure on the drives home, as I cradled newfound treasures in my
arms (no putting them in a bag for me, no sir) and rattled on about this
being the EXACT Nancy Drew I've been looking for and oh LOOK at the
green cover on this book it looks JUST like leather and omigosh I once
got this one from the library and then couldn't find it ever again and oh Daddy isn't
this just the best BEST day?
Today I live surrounded with shadows of our bookshop. Shadows of a good
kind, as I savor the comfort of books lining almost every wall of my home.
Shadows of a better kind, as I thank God for a father who was generous
his attention and his time. These shadows of the better
kind are ones I hope I've passed along to my own children, and now to my
grandchildren as we share games and books and make-believe. I pray to be generous with my attention and my time, helping them make memory-shadows of their own.
And I live with shadows of the best kind, because the generosity and
attention of my earthly father was, itself, a dim shadow of the attention of my Heavenly Father.
I can only imagine how HE
looks upon me when I accept with joy His outpouring of gifts. Think of
how it must please Him when we bubble over with thanks and praise!
There are treasures all around, if I just look for them. I might spend
today doing some counting, and some thanking. And who knows? I
might even bubble just a bit....