Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day by Day

 When I am deeply engrossed in a good book, I struggle to focus on the tasks at hand, to remember where I am and what I should be doing, to separate myself from the reality of the world in my mind.  It is a mixed blessing to lose oneself in an alternate creation.  More than once I have carried the feeling of loss and exhaustion from an emotionally taxing tale into my oh-so-prosaic and predictable work-a-day world.  Irrational?  Of course.  As time passes, I gradually regain my footing during the day and sleep without dreams at night.....

The text in late October was from Kenzie.  With her characteristic blend of dedication and enthusiasm, she sent out a call for companions to join her in a reading equivalent of an eight hundred meter race: read the Bible in 90 days.  Why an eight hundred?  No time to stop; not much time to slack off.  Not a marathon; not a sprint.  A commitment with rewards unmeasured, but known.

Impulsively, I answered right back.  Yep, I said, I'll take this on.  I took it as a direct hint, something louder than the still voice after the whirlwind.  Ok, Kenzie, I'll join you.......and everyone you jostled with the notion.  Here's the website; here's the app.  Pick your version; pick your reminders, or not.  Here's God talking to you, right on your iphone.  Just in case His own holy Book isn't close enough.....

Forgive me if you find this conversation irreverent. With excitement and a sense of adventure and anticipation I dove into the familiar words of Genesis 1.  I played with several translations before settling.  I tinkered with the website's features,watching each chapter check off electronically as it was completed. 

Genesis flew by.I was there among the people listening raptly by fires under the stars.  These are not written words; these are spoken tales, handed down from generation to generation.  Exodus: tyranny, slavery,origin of a people wandering from land to land. Here was all the drama of great literature: testing, trials, blessing and ingratitude, crime and punishment, the eternal and ongoing struggle of a virtual and literal wilderness.  

As the days wear on, I find myself falling into the rhythm.  I read in the car, while I heat water in the microwave, while coffee is brewing, while I wait for the car to fill with gas.  The Bible is habit forming in the finest sense. The cadence carries one forward, even if the words consist of names so unfamiliar they might be people or they might be places.  The rules of Jewish law and sacrifice roll off the tongue of the reader, wave upon wave, long distance breakers past to present.  

And not just history.  Passion, loyalty, love, betrayal.  Hope.  War.  Strength. All the agony and ecstasy of humanity's paradise lost. Kings and queens, prophets and seers, blood and glory and heroes wage epic battles on the pages of the Old Testament long before Shakespeare was a glimmer. Reading Job, I found myself constantly bookmarking some of the loveliest, most muscular poetry in literature.  

I am yet but forty percent through my 90 day pilgrimage.  It is a journey of discovery and re-discovery.  We are accustomed to our Bible in anecdotes, but  it gains additional mystery and power read page by page.  The rigid and artificial schedule has unexpectedly led to a lyrical, vivid and lively reading experience.  Is it disrespectful to have both a Facebook and a Bible app on the same screen?  Not when God's word leads you to read Psalms........rather than checking your status.....

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