The Bible That Got Away From Me

Think of a time you let something slide, only for it to eat away at you later. Tell us how you’d fix it today.

It was August 1995. My good friends Charles and Julie were getting married. I traveled from Pittsburgh to their home in Atlanta (yes, in August) for the wedding. I was a lector in the wedding so I was included in all of the festivities. I had my dress, many changes of clothing for the multiple parties (so many parties) and I even had my escort, my former boyfriend who was a groomsman.

What I didn’t have was a gift.

I had *planned* to purchase a copy of the Bible and have it engraved with their names and the date. There was a Christian bookstore near my parents home, but I just never made it there over the summer. I was in DC for a month teaching at a political science seminar and was just really busy with my own coursework and prepping to relocate to Kentucky in September. My mother had emergency surgery. Lots of things happened and I found myself driving to Atlanta, sans Bible.

I figured I could send it later, people do that all of the time. However, my erstwhile former-boyfriend (Oh, Keith Jones) had told them of my plan so when I arrived, they asked me if I would read from THAT BIBLE in their wedding. I wanted to just melt into the Earth as I explained that I didn’t have it. I rambled on about backorders and engraving and so forth. They were totally cool with that and I just used another Bible.

The wedding was lovely. The parties were fun. I eventually made my way back to Pittsburgh and then onto Kentucky and back to Pittsburgh and … I never made it into a Christian bookstore to order a Bible. Soon a year passed, then three and then five. I always thought of it when their anniversary rolled around, but it felt soooo awkward to address it. How do you explain 20 years of procrastination?

I’m still in touch with both Charles and Julie. They are far too polite and gracious to have ever mentioned it to me. And I eventually forgot about it. Sort of. Mostly because I stopped going to church.

I did learn my lesson. I was pretty poor moving forward from that wedding so I selected a universal gift that almost everyone would always want – a set of neutral bath sheets and hand towels from J.C. Penney. Period. I’d just trot down, pick it up and wrap it in tissue in a nice gift. That way, I always had the gift. It even translated well to shopping online.

When this prompt appeared in the queue today, this incident immediately came to mind. I certainly have much deeper regrets and sadness, but I can’t undo lost time with friends and family who have died. I can’t go back in time and set things right. I can’t heal certain wounds.

I can order an engraved Bible for their 20th wedding anniversary this summer. That I can do.

As for now, I have Ledcat who would never ever let this happen. She’s very attentive to these things – both conscientious and gracious in her good manners. She likes to shop from bridal registries so that’s easy enough and we can order the gift to be sent to the home which makes it easier for everyone. I still like the towel idea, but I can compromise.

This I know, for the Bible tells me so.

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    • Hi Judy,

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