The old saying, “Home is where the heart is…” has some validity as I sit here this morning in my study after an absence of over a month. There is a feeling of being back “home” in the company of my “friends” of the written word, and with the “stuff” that reflects some of the paths my life has taken. As I bask in this friendly, comfortable atmosphere, however, the words of Douglas Steere come to me. He writes that a day will come when I must go through the needle’s eye, and that most, if not all of what I have come to identify as my permanent possessions will be stripped from me: “my possessions must go; my house will be sold or rented or passed into the hands of others, any income that I may have will go to others, and even my books will go…”
“While It Is Day,” however, I will enjoy the company of my friends (books) and the “stuff” of my journey. If you take time to look at the photo, you will note immediately that I love “wood.” I particularly like the wood of the oak and walnut tree and so my books are stored in early 20th century oak barrister bookcases and adorned with wood carvings I’ve carved over the years. There is a story behind the bookcases. They were a gift (along with many of the books) inherited from an old clergyman I met 47 years ago. Dr. Cummings and I spent many an hour together. He was an important mentor in my early years of ministry and each time I look at the bookcases, I think of him.
When I first brought the bookcases home, they were coated with the dark black stain of the period in which they were used and smelled of cigar smoke. Dr. Cummings enjoyed his cigars! My wife did not want them in the house, but after stripping off the old dark finish and allowing the golden oak to appear, I was permitted to bring them back up out of the basement into our living quarters and they have been with me ever since and J. Earl Cummings too.
Perhaps, someday, when these bookcases belong to another, they will look upon them and think of me!