By: Lydia Crow
Just eight words caught him and spoke to him.
He’d never read the Bible and never wanted to. He didn’t want to discover that it wasn’t all full of poetry. It was nothing to do with his faith, or lack thereof. They never knew what he did believe, what he did feel or think.
But those eight words felt so perfect to him, so simple and profound. He didn’t know why.
Each night, before bed, he’d take down his Bible from its shelf. It would fall open at the right page. He’d read those words just once, as if reading them more than once would somehow devalue them, as if to re-read them was literary gluttony.
Then he’d exhale the breath he never remembered he was holding and return the book to the shelf. Sometimes, if he was agitated, he’d read them at other times of the day too. On a particularly bad day, he’d read them several times in a row: but never more than once at a time.
When his mother died, he took down the Bible, read the words and returned the book to its shelf repeatedly for six hours and nine minutes.
The words calmed him, soothed him.
They asked him once what was so special about those eight little words at the end of chapter two, verse ten. He thought for a moment, then scribbled in his notepad: ‘their beauty gives me hope to carry on’.