Saturday, August 09, 2014
The Book And Its Cover
I had coffee with one of my former students this morning at a nearby Starbucks. She was early and I was late but that's ok- she didn't send me to the office to get a tardy slip. The wonderful young lady is visiting relatives in Houston before returning to her very big Midwestern state university next week. She had a present for me- a large mug with her college's logo on it for my morning coffee. I had one for her as well; one of the key chains made by Thuy and her sisters while I was in Vietnam. I'm not sure she ever put it down, rolling it through her fingers during our entire visit. I'm pretty sure she likes it.
We talked about my trip. She's from China and before I made my journey, she gave me some very solid advice about how I might approach teaching English. We spoke of college life and her future plans and cultural differences in our two countries. I reminded her about an e-mail she sent me as a student about an idea I had for chapel with our kids from China. I thought it was a good idea but it wasn't and she was the only one who had the guts, very respectfully, to tell me so. I told her how proud I was of that and I think she blushed a little bit when I did. She told me it's not easy being a believer in China or at some institutions of higher learning in the US. She told me about walking out of a lecture in a class of four hundred students as the professor berated those of the faith. She spoke of her morning routine of reading the Scriptures and praying. I was captivated by her stories of life after high school, as a student living in a foreign country even as some of her classmates assume she was born here.
But the highlight of our time together was her revealing the importance of something I witnessed but never comprehended the significance. Each year at our WCS graduation, our seniors are presented not only their diploma but also a Bible from the elders of the Westbury church of Christ. These Bibles come embossed with the name of the grad and to be honest, I've watched the tradition so many times, I take it for granted. Not anymore. She told me how much that Bible means to her, how she never conceived she would possess a Bible with her name on it. She told me how she opens it and searches for answers when life is difficult. A friend told her that the Bible should occupy the highest place in her room due to its value. I came to the conclusion that the Bible I don't remember her receiving is her most treasured possession. I was almost embarrassed as I listened because I've owned countless Bibles and a number with my name stamped on the cover but I have yet to give any of them the respect they deserve. I have repented. One more thing she told me that I took away from our reunion this morning. She revealed that the Bible is much more understandable to her in English than in her native language. Maybe I need to start learning Mandarin to see if the converse is true for me! I have so much to learn.
Applicable quote of the day:
"One of these days some simple soul will pick up the Book of God, read it, and believe it. Then the rest of us will be embarrassed."
E-mail me at email@example.com
Posted by Steve Hawley at 9:23 PM