Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Book Sort

Therefore, prepare your minds for action… since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. – 1 Peter 1:13, 4:1

During the school year, our books somehow multiply to twice the capacity of the available shelving. Sorting is imperative during the summer, but difficult.

We have books for everything in our family. They’re an accurate record of each interest, age, and stage. Their appeal fades relentlessly as the kids grow, leaving me holding volumes of memories. The annual book sort is my personal EmotionsFest, triggering a wrenching nostalgia.

Today, Anne Frank smiled up at me from atop the history pile. This amazing girl died in a concentration camp at 15, having seen and experienced horrors that don’t bear thinking about. As I tried in vain to reconcile her reality with the tender closeting of an ideal childhood, Anne smiled her message at me: Reality cannot be stiff-armed. The kids are growing up into a world that can be overwhelmingly hostile. I’d do well to deal with it.

Of course, it would be unhealthy to obsess on the worst possibilities. But having a watershed battle of acceptance is actually very freeing. If we decide to raise our children in God’s ways and to be faithful to Him no matter what, we no longer have to dread those worst-case scenarios. We’ve already laid them to rest, accepting that life can potentially be extremely hard.

Then it hit me that this world is not our home. My children have an eternal destiny. They have gifts and talents and a high calling. No other individual can impact the world and eternity in the unique ways that God has prepared for them.

Furthermore, nothing can stop God from fulfilling His plans for them. He is sovereign over the good and the bad. I already know from experience that God will use everything for their growth and benefit. We’re a divorced family, after all. I believe that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Cor. 4:17). I decided to not just accept the future, but to embrace it. A fresh wind of excitement and hope blew in.

I’m sure it’s OK to shed a few tears during my annual book sort. It’s fine to stash away those treasured books I just can’t part with. But I don’t want to forget the whole point. No matter what happens, I’m raising my kids for their eternal purpose.

Hmmmm.… Maybe it’s time for a few new books!

1 comment:

  1. I also find books very emotionally evocative.