In my work I use a lot of Bibles. The one I teach from is dear to me; it’s the Spiritual Formation Bible, NIV version: Growing in Intimacy With God Through Scriptures. I am the caretaker of two copies — one from Janice and Brenda to me, one from Brenda and me to Janice. Mine is on a shelf, Janice’s is open before me. Brenda has one at her house.
It occurs to me that these three Bibles, given in mutual love on our respective birthdays way back in 2000, are something like the Trinity, which keeps resisting our explaining, but whose flow keeps flowing and dance keeps dancing!
In the summer of 2016, Janice died suddenly. My son David wrote me: “I’m so sorry for your loss, mom. The kind of bond you had with her is the kind that can’t be broken by death or absence. I love you.”
Cherished words from a beloved son, one who has himself known the sudden loss of friends.
So Janice’s Bible came to live at my house, and occasionally I come across her ‘tracks’ in the form of a word or a passage neatly underlined, with sometimes a one or two word comment. Just this morning Richard Rohr’s meditation sent me to Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared for us to do.” And lo, Janice had been there before me, with ruler and pen! I could go on about the good works of Janice Vaughn, her keen questing mind, her capable hands, her merry blue eyes.
Also in Janice’s Bible is a yellow post-it note she must have harvested somewhere in her house—perhaps the kitchen I remember so well—and placed where it would be safe forever. It says, “I love you Mom – Matt.” To which she added, “I love you too.”