Some women have a thing for shoes, but I have a thing for books...I blame my parents. Let me rephrase that, I thank my parents. I have always had books in my life. We kept the latest dictionary and encyclopedia in hour home. There were volumes on science and sports and child development. I had my own Value Tales series and Disney Encyclopedia. My favorites were the stories of Harriet Tubman, Ralph Bunche, and Marie Curie.
Some women have a thing for shoes, but I have a thing for books...Last week, I finished the office makeover of preaching professor par excellence Rev. Dr. Gary V. Simpson. Part of making over his office included organizing his bookshelf. Well, he was so pleased when he saw his office for the first time that he gave me every book on his shelf that he had duplicates of. There were books by Teresa Fry Brown, Samuel Proctor, Ronald Allen, Walter Brueggemann, and Henry Mitchell. I could hardly contain my excitement!
Some women have a thing for shoes, but I have a thing for books...Why so many books? Well, you never know when you are going to need them. I have used books from my undergraduate studies in papers for my work here at Drew. All of my art books from Howard have been used repeatedly, both by me and by classmates who needed to support their ideas with visual work. Then there are books that I bought either because I liked the title or the author, that I never got around to reading, that I've been able to pick up, read, and use to support my work. There are books that I've read over and over and over again like Ntozake Shange's Lilliane and Carlyle Fielding Stewart's Black Spirituality & Black Consciousness: Soul Force, Culture and Freedom in the African-American Experience. Then there are books that make me proud: my bell hooks and Howard Thurman collections. There are books I want to go back to when I finish at Drew: Sisters in the Wilderness by Delores Williams and Creative Exchange by Victor Anderson.
Some women have a thing for shoes, but I have a thing for books...My thing for books is so deep that, in the midst of hundreds of books, I know when one is missing. A few weeks ago I was in a dry and weary land and needed to reread Renita Weems' Listening For God: A Ministers Journey Through Silence And Doubt and I couldn't find it. I searched and searched and didn't give up. In the midst of my relentless search, I was reminded of the parables of Jesus about the lost coin and lost sheep that are recorded in the Gospel of Luke. Just like God doesn't stop searching for us when we go astray, I did not stop searching for the book. Thanks be to God my roommate had it.
Some women have a thing for shoes, but I have a thing for books...I am also reminded of the time when I stumbled upon books in the hallway in Seminary Hall (during my first year) and the books in the laundry room (during my second year). They were books that someone had (gasp) thrown away. They were books that I needed for class. On Tuesday, March 4th, 2008 in a blog entitled "Must've Been an Angel or Two", I wrote:
In the midst of working on my World Religions midterm paper, I needed a break. I moved my laptop from my lap, asked a classmate to watch my stuff and preceded to walk towards the vending machine. I took a detour into the ladies room (been drinking lots of water) and then stopped at the “free stuff” table that lives in the basement of Seminary Hall. Usually the table is filled with junk, but today there were books, and lots of them, that I would need for future classes. I grabbed a stack and then walked over to the vending machine for peanuts. On my way back, I passed the table again, met by another classmate who noticed my stack. She surveyed the table and pointed out other books that I would need for future classes that I wasn’t even aware of. No kidding, I saved about $300 in one trip to the vending machine...God is good!
Some women have a thing for shoes, but I have a thing for books...And maybe, just maybe, that is why I am sure that when I leave this place that I, too, will write books. It is my prayer that they are books that matter, books that change lives, books that speak to people in ways that the books I have encountered have spoken to me.
Some women have a thing for shoes, but I have a thing for books...Now, don't get me wrong, I like shoes, too!