The Librarian’s Gift

“Seeing you makes me miss homeschooling my kids a little.”

The librarian had made her way to the table we had been occupying. The Martins were dispersed among the premises. One was looking for the Odyssey, or maybe it was the Iliad… one of those Homer books. The middle was checking the status of some things on the borrowed library computer. The youngest had fallen asleep on a table positioned in the sunshine.

They are the Modern Day Bethany 3, and Martha was quiet and still for a change. As we walked into the door of the public library two-thirds of the group announced they didn’t have the necessary book to do their assigned work. I laughed out loud. I informed them it was their lucky day because libraries specialize in… wait for it… BOOKS! And they most certainly have what they need. I grabbed the required literary companions from the stack. My long ago library aid years returned to me instinctively; I did not require help or a card catalog to locate the volumes needed to complete the assignment.

simplicity pngAs we sat at the table the older two got so tickled with themselves that they even got me tickled. The very word legume had me turning red and laughing so heartily I was sure the aforementioned librarian would ask me to vacate. Those same two, have gained their Mama’s ability to laugh uncontrollably in a place designated for quietness – a sense of humor that is both inappropriate and annoying and the ability to procrastinate and avoid socializing if possible.

I don’t want them to struggle with the same things I do, so I make them do things, step out of the comfort zone, in hopes that one day they’ll be less hesitant to do so. I reminded the Lazarus of the bunch I was making him build character as I handed him the required funds, and the dialog he was to have to get a copy made. Mary, per her usual, was sitting quietly and drawing until Lazarus dragged her into his comical circus. They were laughing and enjoying being goofy teenagers.

After our trip to the library we made our way to a local fast food place and had lunch. We ate and made our way home. The next day was our Bible Study day, and unbeknownst to us, this would be the last time we would be able to do any of the activities we had been doing so many days before. The following Tuesday the Quarantine would begin. By the next week the libraries and dining rooms of restaurants would be closed. Life would completely change for us in routine and in what we could expect from the coming days.

Within a week everyone would be homeschooling their kids, corporate worship would cease, and it wouldn’t be weird for folks to wear a mask made out of a bandana into a store. Conversations and priorities would change and it would seem as if life would never return to the normal we once knew.

As days have turned into weeks since that now seemingly long ago conversation I had with the librarian, I have thought much about what life looks like in her house, how she had missed being with her kids daily, and now she has the opportunity to do that. I have thought much of the negatives of the quarantine life. The negatives of staying at home, unable to resume “normal life.” Although admittedly I am a little more sluggish to focus on the positives, like the unexpected gift of homeschooling to the librarian, family meal times, and unplanned and unexpected togetherness. I, like most of the world I know, want life to resume, for the normal to return. But I would be lying if I said that I have not appreciated the slower pace of life and the unexpected gifts it has yielded.


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