I keep one special book near my bed: my dad’s Bible. It is an old leather black Bible, expensive leather, worn now, with the edges exhibiting tears, folds and coffee stains intruding out of the faded black. The cover has “Holy Bible” and “Marion W King” written in gold letters.
Inside the Bible both my parents handwriting flood the pages. Both my parents were born in 1932, were in love for a time and he went to be in the Marines. My mom married another man, only to divorce him when he became violent. Years later my dad came home from where he was stationed and married my mom and adopted my brothers as his own. When my dad died on February 8th in 1982, when he was only 49, my mom gave me this Bible a few years later. I immediately looked for signs of him in the Word. My tears flowed across page after page of all he had taught so many people.
I always wondered what my parents got for their birthdays and Christmas presents, since they grew up during The Great Depression. I imagine Dad got boy things, perhaps toy soldiers? A pop gun? What toys were in his childhood years. I will never know. But I know he got a Bible, my dad had lots of Bibles. If you found your deceased dad’s Bible what would you do?
I know I have lots of marks in my Bible. I never could keep up with my mom’s writing though. She was the “master marker.” Her Bible is full of underlines. Her Bible underlines are straight and neat. I cannot do it. My lines inevitably invade other verses, they’re crooked and sometimes run right through the middle of the words. I gave up drawing straight lines under verses—I now put squiggly lines. I once asked my mom to show me how she made straight lines under her Bible verses—sometimes without even an effort. She tried but I’ve never succeeded.
I don’t have my dad or my mom living anymore but I have his Bible with their marks. I have evidence that he read it, studied it, applied it to his life. I’m so blessed with the many memories and reminders of his life story. And there is so much of him written in it. My mom and my dad wrote in his Bible, the Bible I keep near my bed. It’s nice to have something—anything—that reminds me of him.
I am 52 now and it is 30 years since he died. He would be 80 this month. I can remember every detail of what he looks like. Really, the only harsh memory I have of my dad is that he picked at me endlessly for the way I prayed. In all honesty, I think he was just teasing me, playfully, but I never knew then and it’s affected my entire life since then. I’m going to let go of that memory and stop being afraid to pray aloud.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2: 3-5—”Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? We don’t need letters of recommendation to you or from you as some other people do, do we? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone, revealing that you are a letter of Messiah, delivered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living One, not on stone tablets but on tablets of human hearts.” My dad’s life is written on my heart. It gives me pleasure still to read his Bible.
My dad’s favorite verse: Philippians 4:13 –“I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me”I carry that same verse as my own favorite. I know that through my parents words in that Bible, in their applications of those words to my life, have helped to make me strong and realizing how much I need daily to study and learn those words, so I too can write them on my heart and in my daughters lives.
Write in your Bible! Even if you use squiggly lines. Your kids will thank you someday! More importantly, write your lives on their hearts. That someday, perhaps one cold night, as they wait to go asleep, they will read your Bible, see your marks, and remember that day, long ago, when you wrote your life on their lives.
To you Daddy, I pray I’ve honoured your memory and served well as your Daughter. I love you!