The Christmas wrapping went flying and there it was. My brand new “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers. Ah, the smell of the cover, real bonded leather, the feel of the pages, excellent quality paper and guaranteed not to bleed through to the other side, (I write in real ink, love the glide of the pen), the size of the margins, begging for my scribblings, all of it pure joy to a book fanatic.
It was also the original unabridged classic, all of it penned by the great man somewhere in between 1911 – 1917. My introduction to Oswald Chambers came via a fictional Episcopalian minister, Father Tim, the protagonist in the beloved Mitford Series by Jan Karon. Father Tim kept on quoting from and reading Oswald Chambers so I simply had to buy the book but settled for a cheap paperback, an updated edition in today’s
About five months into the book, it started falling apart, pages becoming unglued and I’ve been keeping the whole thing intact with a rubber band. I can’t trash it, too many notes everywhere! And that beautiful bonded leather version on Amazon beckoned so on to my Wish List it went and I got what I’d asked for. But I very quickly ran into problems.
The original is written in that formal, somewhat stilted English, spoken in the early nineteen hundreds. Compounded by the fact that English is my second language, at times I just didn’t understand what Mr. Chambers was saying. It was like reading Shakespeare who, with a few exceptions, I never liked anyway, unless I saw it performed.
So what was a woman to do? A woman was to pick up that old, dog-eared, falling apart updated version in today’s language to get with the program. Which, of course, set me thinking? Most of us hate change. I do, fervently. I like my comfort zone; I hate getting lost; I dislike surprises; I’m pretty set in my ways and on top of all that, I’m old. And yet I needed a “change” (that updated version) to get ahead in my studies? Man oh man, this was no fun.
Was this then a case of “out with the old and in with the new?” It was time to sit back (coffee cup with grandchildren’s photo) in hand and ponder that statement.
Nope, because sometimes, that old, original text just hits the sweet spot, uses words the new one doesn’t, a descriptive turn of phrase, the flowery language of the original King James Version. What then was my personal lesson here? What did I take away from my back and forth between The Old and The New?
KEEP AN OPEN MIND.
Not everything that is new is right and/or reasonable. Neither is everything that is old. Somewhere in between lies the right and/or reasonable. But that does involve an open mind, cooperation, and a willingness to listen to the other side.
Blessings and Cyber Hugs.