In 1969 a suburban Chicago businessman named Kenneth Taylor devoted his daily train commute to paraphrasing the Bible into modern accessible text. It was called the Living Bible and my copy was green.
I slept with this book, hugging it as one would a stuffed animal or squishy pillow.
At 13, I was too old for a babysitter. So while my parents went to parties, I stayed home with Shep, our slightly deaf border collie who was prone to barking at nothing, jarring my nerves, or snoring the evening away with intermittent flatulence that only an elderly dog can emit. It didn’t help that my bedroom was located at the end of a wing to our sprawling house — with a door to the outside just a few feet away.
I clutched that Bible while watching Get Smart or Here Come the Brides, waiting for the sound of our car pulling into the driveway adjacent to the side entrance where I was certain nocturnal animals and sneaky robbers had been lurking.
The following year I was sent to boarding school and my green Bible went into hiding. I was on a mission to fit in and a bible would detract from this lofty goal. If I ever attended church, it was a sterile version with horse loving folks steeped in white privilege. No place for the radical words of Jesus to show their face.
Without this Bible, I stumbled through my 20s amid an eating disorder and rampant self-promotion.
Then came parenting.
Jared turns 30 next month. And for all his 30 years I have leaned on the Bible for wisdom, guidance, security – all of which I lacked in this job I was grossly ill prepared for. (Still am.)
I wish I could hug that green Bible of Dr. Taylor’s —
Who could be throwing a ball to Shep right now.
While holding his nose.