The Xeroxed Bible
I had a dream the other night. I was looking for a place to trade one book for another. For whatever reason, I was carrying an old dictionary or thesaurus type book around with me and was looking to turn it in to someone who could use it. You may know this sort of book, a big huge thing. In days past it would have been added weight to your book-bag. It was the big heavy sort of book that children think takes muscles to lift. Those big books are filled with definitions, synonyms, and all sorts of information about the words we use. I found a place that took the book, and was offered a trade.
In exchange for the trade, I got a copy of a library checked out book, an old Bible. Hand written on the cover was the date that it should be returned, and who it should be returned to. Strangely, the name on the cover was not the name of the library it came from, but a person’s name. There was also a not to say it was not to be returned until roughly twenty years from now. The book was made of folded pages. The pages had been created using a copy machine, and were copies of pages from the checked out Bible. The Xeroxed and folded pages had clearly been bound together by hand. Curious, I accepted the trade, and left to find a quiet place to study it.
Why Xerox A Bible?
The book was styled after an old-fashioned family Bible. The inside cover held a copy of the library card, showing it had only been checked out once. The name on the card was different from the name on the cover. The family listing showed two names, the first was the name on the checkout card; the second was the name on the cover, with a date less than a few years old. I pondered this, wondering what it meant.
A mother had clearly made this little book; the child would have been still too young to do so. The copied pages were carefully selected from the original, probably pages that carried special meaning for her. Those copies were then carefully formed into a book she had rebound herself. Clearly she had no Bible of her own, but had gone to the trouble of creating a special one by checking out a book from the library, copying selected pages, then rebinding it to make it her own. Why?
In the dream, I turned to the back inner cover, and found the mothers name again, this time with two dates listed next to it, one roughly twenty years ago, the other fairly recent. I then dreamed of the meaning implied by the dates written in the book, and theorized in my dream. The mother was clearly young, probably just out of high school when she gave birth to the child this book was for.
I then cried in anguish in my sleep when I realized the meaning of two dates on the back inside cover. The mother had recently died, and her last testament was the message I held in my hands. She intended the book for her child, to tell them who they were. She had given her child up for adoption, and had created this book before checking out. Would the child believe? Would they even understand the message?
I woke, glad that it was only a dream.