I have a copy of A. W. Tozer's The Pursuit of God. This small, worn book was published in the late 1940s and belonged to one of the great mentors of my life. She passed it on to me years ago, and I have to admit that I kept it as a memento, and cherished it mostly because she wrote her name inside the front cover.
When I was a younger me, the emotion my elders expressed over the handwriting of their elders seemed a little excessive to me. I remember my mom saying, "Look at this - that's Dad's handwriting!" I just smiled and nodded, never sensing anything unusual. Now, here I am at the end of my forties, and I get it. I'm not sure if I inherited it or if I'm just finally old enough to understand it, but seeing my friend's name, written in bold ownership on that cover, causes emotion to wash over, or maybe through, me.
Running my finger over the faded blue lettering is irresistible; a way to touch the tiniest bit of the person she was when she made that signature. Someone who defied the conventions of her own times to live a peculiar life, one that included reading difficult books such as this one. She let her light shine brightly, and sometimes I had to sort of squint in her company.
Ten years ago, if you had asked me who among my older friends would finish well, I would've said her name without hesitation and added a fist pump or two. She would've laughed and refused to give me a high-five.
But age can be cruel, dear friends, even to the best and brightest among us, and we all know it. Even the most fervent followers in our company may, in their last years, mourn aloud the darkness of their own heart.
I know her Savior is near, that she is never alone, and that He is faithful. I tell myself these things and focus my thoughts on these TRUTHS when her present condition becomes overwhelming.
Her younger self, the one that signed Tozer's thin volume when it was brand new, would tell me to read the book and stop being so silly and sentimental. She would remind me of this and tell me to trust this. So that's what I've been doing.
She would encourage you to do the same.
Read some of the hard stuff - rock solid theology from the last century's midpoint. Get a copy of anything by A. W. Tozer in your hands, hunker down and, in the words of a wise friend of mine - CHEW.
The one I'm reading is free at this website.
We could read it together...?