Sometime earlier this year, someone left a Bible at the store I work in. It sat in the back room, unclaimed, for many months. I picked it up one day on my break and started flipping through it. This bible has been well-loved. It's marked and lined and written in with very, very thoughtful, sweet notes. Every single book, nearly every single page, has been noted or written on. The book of Colossians is falling out. This was someone's Bible, and I don't mean their "I use this on Sundays sometimes" bible, it was their "I live and die by these words" bible.
In the front there was a note that had a name and a phone number so I called that number and asked for the name listed. The person who answered had not lost his bible, and he didn't know anyone else who had, or who had written his name and number in the front of their bible. He offered to ask around and I let him know where I work so if he found out who the bible belonged to, he could direct them my way.
That was several weeks ago and no one has showed up asking for it yet. Which makes me think that the sweet gentleman who owned this bible may or may not currently be with the Lord. I know the person who loved this bible was a guy because he wrote next to a verse in Song of Solomon, "I need to make Teresa feel like this." And yes, I do tear a up a little everytime I think about that.
Admittedly, I'm kind of glad the owner of this bible has not come for it. I've certainly enjoyed reading from it. The notes are thoughtful, and everytime I see something particularly powerful that is underlined, I feel like I'm getting an "Amen!" from a brother or an "Oh, check this verse out". It's so nice reading it and feeling like I'm reading it with a fellow believer. Is that strange?
What Jesus said in John 13 has been weighing on me lately: "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." That's such a sweet reminder and a serious command all wrapped in one. I can't help but think of all the loves that have surrounded me lately. My sweet friends David and Julia came to pray with me the night before I left for Georgia and just that simple gesture--can we come pray with you?--meant the world to me, and how sweet to watch them live out John 13:34. And it's not just these two that have shown me this kind of love, its people I both know very well and haven't ever even met face-to-face. But when Jesus is the connective tissue between two people, no matter how far apart, or like the owner of this bible whose name I don't even know, there's such a transcendent closeness and familiarity that I can't quite put my finger on. And why would I want to? Some things are just too special for words.
I know that's its awfully creaturely of me, but I hope that one day I bump into this sweet note-taker when we're both in glory and I get to tell him everything his sweet scribbles meant to me.