Monday, November 12, 2012

A (Slight) Lament

Meghan and I share the same love for a lot of different things. 

Some things I've picked up from her, like an appreciation for Yankee macintosh candles, sweatshirts, marriage, child-rearing, and even (slightly) the story of Anne of Green Gables. Some things she's picked up from me, like stove-cooked popcorn, theology, apolitical positions, or even (slightly) Boston sports. Of course, many other things we appreciated well before we even came together, like Christmas, driving through Vermont, the seasons, and Jesus.

Love has a way of drawing various parties together toward one another's interests and concerns. Surely that is part of what has happened for Meghan and I. I cherish this.

For one, we've loved to visit used bookstores. We've found them while traveling, spending time perusing, sometimes buying, but more often not. She heads for the children's and classics sections while I prefer theology and photography.  The best book stores are ones that have good coffee and some tables. We've frequented bookstores in Kansas, Vermont, and many places in between. Some stores are duds. Others have been more fruitful.

About a year and a half ago, we were in North Conway at a bed and breakfast thanks to the generosity of our church community. As we often did, we sought out a local used book store. A beautiful little building with a second-floor loft (children's section, of course), it was very pleasing to the eye and slightly exciting in thinking about the possibilities within.

But after some time spent browsing, I was rather disappointed. 

And realization set in. 

Theology books just aren't exactly best-sellers these days. While I'm truly okay with that (I don't mind pop theology dying, and these are usually the types of theology books that would be in stores), I lament it in that the space I used to inhabit in book stores doesn't exist like it used to.

And secondly, used bookstores are going the way of wagon wheels and landline phones. I am typing this on my iPad, from which I also do 90% of my reading these days. I love the minimalist nature that technology brings. But with the advance of the electronic (like books) goes the demise of the material (like ink and paper). 

Sad.

But true.

And by sad, I don't mean that it should be otherwise. I feel for bookstores and bookstore owners (Meghan apparently does too since she's watched the movie You've Got Mail about a million times). But in life, this is the way things go: things die. Out of them, new things grow. 

And so today, I lament.

I am up in North Conway at the moment, this time without Meghan. (It's likely that this post was birthed from our separation.) My father and I are together and he wanted to go to a bookstore, so I brought him to the one Meghan and I "discovered." I was even more disappointed today. The theology books in the inspirational section were limited to one by Joyce Meyer and a commentary on The Shack (not even the book itself). Wright, Newbigin, Hauerwas, and even Lewis and Lucado: all missing. There were five copies of Satanic Verses from the Underground (or some such thing). 

Inspirational, indeed.

And so I lament today. 

Of course, there are "much more important" things to lament. The list is obvious. Today though, this is on my mind.

But to lament is not necessarily to wish for something to be different. Instead, it may simply be to acknowledge that we don't enjoy the truth of a matter, however inevitable it may be.

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