Read your Bible, Stay in School.

This is how my grandmother ended each letter. When I went to college, my parents thought it was important that I write letters to my grandmother. I didn’t really get it then, but I didn’t have an issue with it so I agreed. I get it now why my parents wanted me to do that, and I’m grateful for the hand-written, horribly misspelled letters that I have to remember my grandmother. 

Our letters were nothing of substance, really. She would write about the weather and what her neighbors were doing and maybe tell me some about my cousins that lived in the same town as her. My letters consisted of some of my daily activities and what I was studying. Nothing really outstanding or fantastic. But no matter what these letters contained, she always closed her letters with “Read your Bible, stay in school.” 

Here’s why this sticks out in my mind. These two things were crucial to her existence. One she had and held to dearly, the other was something she never had the opportunity to experience. The most important things were what she had and what she never had. 

My grandmother barely finished high school, and even at that, it was a very rural community where most of girl’s high school education consisted of home making skills and the boys was agricultural training and not really focused at all on academics. From what I can gather, she had approximately a third grade reading level. She recognized that education was so important for my future because her life lacked it so much. 

She was so wrapped up in the Bible and religion that when she passed away my uncles and father had a difficult time deciding who would get her Bible; even though all four of my uncles now reject the very religion she loved. Now, the cynical twenty-something in me wants to roll my eyes at this. But I find deep respect in people that lived their lives so passionately about something that they loved. So passionate that when they pass away, there is no doubt about the goal and purpose of their life. 

With her sign off signature, I can draw two things:

  1. She knew her weakness, and was okay with sharing it
  2. She knew her passion and wanted me to get caught up in it too. 

Although I definitely don’t have the same view of the Bible that my grandmother did, I still strive to “read my Bible, and stay in school”—figuratively, of course. 

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