Lonely Books… by JoAnn
A few weeks ago, I went to my favorite Goodwill store. I shopped all over the store as I always do, looking for any bargain or treasure that may be hiding there. Before I finish shopping, I always go to the store’s back wall to the book section. They have CDs, DVDs, children’s books, and adult books. Both paperback and hardback. Their prices are exceptionally fair. It seems they always have a large collection that has been donated, and my guess is they have so many that they keep the prices low in hopes of getting rid of them.
As I was browsing the books, I noticed that most of the children’s books were very worn and well-loved. This made me happy. To think of all the times the books had been read and enjoyed by kids of all ages, parents too, was a wonderful thought. The adult section of paperbacks was mostly well-read or used also. Those are the most affordable and often shared books for adults. The hardback adult books were a whole different situation. Most looked never read, not even thumbed through. Most were likely sitting on a shelf in a home, with their owner planning to get to them one day but have yet to do so. Then, deciding they were in the way, they donated them to the Goodwill instead.
I love opening a book that has never been read and the crisp crack of opening its pages for the first time. But that is not good when you think about a book in a thrift store. That means the book was never enjoyed as the author had hoped. But instead, the book was bought or given as a gift and was never even opened, much less read. From a book’s point of view, if a book had one, it must be a lonely existence. Wanting to be read and enjoyed, but no one even once flipping through your pages. So many cookbooks with colorful photographs of the finished product were never viewed. No recipe attempted. Hundreds of self-help books wanting to do just that: help. But bought and put away for another day. Only to remain where they were laid until someone decides it’s not worth the effort and tosses it.
Oh, I’m sure the number one reason that unread books are even a thing today is that everyone reads or gets their information by way of a computer screen, tablet, or cell phone. No one cares to read anymore. Even our children are being taught in school on computers and tablets. The book does not hold the recognition it did even thirty years ago. There are fewer and fewer actual bookstores. I, myself, have not visited one in probably twenty years. If I do want a new book, I usually order it online.
That day in Goodwill, I was hoping to find an actual book to bring a smile to my face. I looked in the Christian literature section as I always do for a book by any of my favorite authors. I rarely ever find one. In fact, I have only found one in all the years I’ve shopped at this store. I had been needing a new Holy Bible in large print as my eyesight is not what it used to be. I looked where the Bibles are usually placed. Rarely do they have more than one, and they are generally not in good shape. But I looked anyway. To my surprise, there was a large Holy Bible, black and leather bound. I knew before I picked it up that I was going to buy it. To find such a bible at Goodwill was extremely rare. When I picked the Bible up, it was obvious that it was brand new. On the side, I saw the words “Large Print.” When I opened it, the thin pages were crisp and still stuck together. This glorious book had never been opened. I was ecstatic at my find! I had been longing for this Bible for a couple of years now, plus it was a bargain! I rushed to the checkout to pay for my goods with a huge smile on my face.
When I got to the checkout, a sweet young lady was my cashier. She commented on the Bible. With a big smile on my face, I told her of how I had been longing for and needing a new large print bible for some time. And how shocked I was to find one there that day. She was happy for me and commented that it was a really nice bible. She then placed it into my bag with my other purchases. I waited for her to put the price into the register. She never did. She just looked at me and smiled, and said, “Enjoy.” I, of course, gave her a big thank you!
I’m not sure if that particular Goodwill gives Bibles away on a regular basis. I know many thrift stores do. But that day, I was gifted the Bible I needed, and I am very grateful! I came home and placed my new Bible in a special spot on my side table. Never to be taken for granted and never to be covered up by newspapers or magazines. It will forever have that special spot in my home, as the story of how I received it will have a special place in my heart.
It is sad that my now precious Bible was sitting alone on a shelf in a thrift store. Having never been opened, never read, being discarded as someone’s junk. I am thankful it landed in hands that could truly love it.