I am guilty!
Oh, yes, I am! Big-time guilty!
I am a confirmed bibliophile!
Do you know what that is?
My guess is that there are a few more of us lurking around out there in the world.
A bibliophile is a person who collects or has a great love for books!
Yep, that’s me! It all started when my parents introduced me to the world of books. They would read out loud to me and I would look at all the pictures as they read the words upon the page. Mom and dad read some of the greatest stories to their little girl. We would spend hours discovering the joy of reading a book. I was fascinated by them. My bedroom was full of storybooks. I couldn’t wait for the day that I learned to read complete sentences, by myself, from the pages of a good book.
But the real problem started when I discovered the school library! That’s another word for book heaven! The “hang-out” spot of every genuine bibliophile. Well, for me it was. So many books. So little time to read. Yet, my determination was to read them all before I left Hudlow Elementary School.
And then, it got worse when mom introduced me to the Pima County Public Library. Oh, that was glorified book heaven! Rows upon rows of books of every possible subject to delight the heart of a bibliophile. There I was introduced to the greats— great books, great authors, great biographies, great animal stories, great adventures to go on through pages and pages of books, great mystery stories to try and solve before I got to the end of the book, and great librarians who would point me into the direction of the “bestest” books an avid reader could get her hands upon. I hungered for more. Loved that I could take five books out of the library at one time— but for a week? Really? Man, I had those books read within just a couple of days, never mind a week. My mom gave her three daughters a very clear message, on our trips to the library: “When you have overdue books, the cost of your fine comes out of your weekly allowance.” Ugh! We knew mom was serious. I did my best, but there were a few times when my books were late, and I learned to pay my fine with a smile on my face.
Now, as an adult, I still love libraries, bookstores, and gifts of books, books, and more books. With every move I made in life (stateside or across the world), I carried only my favorite books with me, giving the rest away to new homes and hopefully to another avid reader. And then, when I got settled in my new place, I started the book collection all over again. Quite often, you will find me on the prowl of a good book to read. Got any suggestions? Oh, so many times, you will find me curled up with a good book in my hands and my nose buried into the printed page. In one corner of my multiple bookcases, you will find it contains the “soon to be read!” books, although I am noticing of late how that corner is taking over the whole shelf. So, yes! I am a bibliophile! And I am proud of it!
But I have to tell you about my unexpected moment in the library, just down the street from my house. Totally unexpected!
I went into the library with really good intentions. I was going to donate a few copies of my newly published book to the library. Which I did in hopes that someone might see it and want to read it. In the process I had to check out the “new” books that the library was offering. And of course, I found one that just had to come home with me.
So, I went to the librarian’s desk to check out. “Do you have your library card with you?”
Yes, but I first had to find it. After a few moments, I handed her my card and smiled. She did her thing on the computer. “I’m sorry, but you will not be able to take this book out the door until you pay your fine!” she says with a not so nice smirk upon her face. “What do you mean I have a fine? I haven’t checked out any library books for well over three years now,” was my reply.
“Yes, I know,” said the librarian. “You have fines that have mounted for three years!”
I was stunned. What? is all my brain could think of in that unexpected moment. Nor could my brain even begin to handle the calculation of that whopper of a fine! “Don’t even tell me how much it is, I really don’t want to know. I would rather go and check and make sure that book isn’t over there sitting happily upon your shelf” and I pointed in the direction of all the books. She thought that was a good idea. We both went on an unexpected mission. I asked God to join us in that unexpected moment! He did and He presented both the librarian and me with an unexpected surprise.
“See! Right there!” There upon the bookshelf. In its proper place. Sat the very book. The book that I had a three-year fine for. The librarian reached up and pulled the book off the shelf and she walked away. I followed her, hoping for a great outcome to my unexpected moment. She disappeared behind her desk, did a few things at the computer, got up and walked to the back room and was gone for what seemed forever.
Then, she finally emerged with that long-awaited-for smile. “You should be thankful for your GRACE period. It’s still in effect, my dear. And you won’t be paying any fines today!” I wanted to give her a big hug! But instead, I picked up my library card, ready for the next time I’m brave enough to walk through those doors again! I glanced in the direction of her computer and yes, my donated books were still there. I left the one book that I had wanted to check out behind me. Someone else could have the pleasure of reading that new book. I turned tail and left the library in a hurry, just in case the librarian changed her mind. Whew! What an unexpected moment!
But, with that unexpected moment came an unexpected gift. Did you catch what that was?
Unexpected grace! From the librarian! Thank you, God!
On my way home, I got to thinking about all the different times that God gives me His gift of unexpected grace. Wow! Now, there’s a thought that could easily fill a book. Maybe I’ll write a new one.
Unexpected grace! Yes, our God blesses us with unexpected grace every single day! Just think about it. Even today, God will, if He hasn’t already, surprise us with His gift of grace. And that grace just might come in an unexpected moment. Grace is mercy, lovingkindness that Jesus paid for with His very life. Not one of us deserves grace; but God will lovingly lavish His grace upon us today. Just watch and see for yourself.
Have a read of this biblical encouragement:
“The Lord will give GRACE and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly” Psalm 84:11 (NKJV).
As you go through your day today, whether you have unexpected moments or not, be on the lookout for displays of God’s gift of grace towards you. It will be there. You just have to look and receive His great gift of grace!
Oh, and one more thing.
If you have any overdue library books, get them back to the library! Now! Before your GRACE period runs out! And tell the librarian that Kathy sent you!