“Why do these pages have to make so much noise?” Carmen pleaded in her softest sotto voce.
“Shhhh! Who cares?” hissed Peg, “Just read the scripture.”
“But I can’t find Ecclesiastics.” Blowing out her bangs, she tapped her pencil against her teeth.
After class, the two study buddies went for coffee. “What was the big deal about your Bible? Is it missing a book?”
“It sure feels like it.” Slouching as she looked around Carmen was upset again. “That thin paper, how can it make all that noise? Now everyone in class knows that I don’t know my way around the Bible. And the other thing is why can’t I have a well worn Bible like everybody else?”
“What are you talking about?” Peg had wondered why Beth, the teacher, had decided to assign ‘study buddies”, now it was beginning to dawn on her, some people are so new to the Bible that they have never even cracked one open.
“My Bible still looks like new; so everyone knows that I haven’t been using it.” So concerned of what others think, she considered spilling her coffee on it and deliberately dropping it on the floor a couple dozen of times. Tearing a few corners here and there would do the trick.
“Everyone has to start at the same place. You should feel lucky to even have a Bible of your own; didn’t you hear last week, that most people in Brazil don’t?” Shaking her head, Peg continued, “Bibles don’t come with worn corners, tear stains and margin notes. Are you crazy? You didn’t just know your ABCs the first day of kindergarten did you? Just like with elementary school, Bible class teaches you the basics, then you graduate to studies with more substance, by then you have been reading enough to learn at least the approximate location of a certain book.”
“Margin notes come when you have been struck by a particular passage and you want to draw attention to it for you, for the future, not for others, no one else is going to pick up your Bible and use it to find a verse. You need to quit thinking about the other women and concentrate on what you are learning. I’ll bet if you took a poll, no one even noticed your fluttering pages.”
“Patience and practice is the key. Let’s look at what you do know.” Opening her own slightly tattered book to the Table of Contents, she saw her new friend’s jaw drop.
“I had no idea,” embarrassed and elated at once. “OMG! This will help a lot; maybe I won’t be the only one rustling the pages while Beth talks about the prophets.
“Speaking about the prophets, a friend of mine once sang for me the little song she uses when she needs to find one of the minor ones. So see, we don’t all have it together as much as your think we do. I still can’t find Hebrews on the first try; I always get it confused with Romans. Back to what you already know.”
“Well, duh, Genesis is the first book and Revelation is the last. I know that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the first four books of the New Testament. And thanks to Lyle Lovett, I know that Joshua Judges Ruth isn’t just the name of my favorite album, but that they are three consecutive books in the Old Testament. I can usually find Psalms pretty quickly, too.”
“Not too shabby, only fifty six more to go.” Smiling, Peg promised to help Carmen learn the order of the books. “Besides, you don’t want wrinkles before your time, do you?”
“No buts about it, you have to learn it, not yearn for it.”
“For patience, practice and for Lyle Lovett.”
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