We often think how wonderful it would be to discover treasure. The word evinces images in our mind of piles of gold coins and vessels from days gone by. But real treasure cannot be measured by how much money it will bring. True treasure can only be found in the heart.
I spent two days with my youngest brother going through stuff of my dad’s that he has had in storage for over 15 years. Boxes of books, scraps of paper, and lots of really old dust. After the first day, I was covered in dust and overwhelmed by exhaustion. I must have looked much like treasure hunters of old had when they were digging in the earth for their expected finds. Only I wasn’t really expecting anything except maybe a few documents for the family genealogy or a couple of my old favorites in reading.
The next day, God decided to surprise me. Let me back track a bit. Well, maybe a few years. Well maybe 49 years to be precise. But first I will back track to two months ago.
Back in November I was thinking about what other books I could download onto my Kindle so I would have sufficient bed-time reading, and I ran across the name of an author of some of the books I used to read at my Grandad’s house. The name Florence L. Barclay jumped out at me, and I remembered reading a book called “The Rosary”. So I downloaded it and spent the next few nights reading it. For some reason the poem in the book was stuck in my head. I had no clue why. Sometimes Time hides important treasures.
Page forward to last Saturday. As my brother and I were going through the books, there at the bottom of a forlorn box was a book that looked oh so familiar, and I dived in to grab it. As I pulled it up to read the title, there it was! “The Rosary” by Florence L. Barclay! I eagerly opened it and did I ever find a treasure.
There, written on the opening page, under my grandparent’s name, was my own handwriting. The poem from page 51 and 52 written out. And as I read it, memories flooded back and tears filled my eyes.
Now page back 49 years. I was 15 years old. My Grandad had died just weeks before and I was alone in the house in the dark. The loneliness was nearly unbearable, so I got up, turned on the light and began searching through the bookcase for something, anything to read to take my mind off of my sorrow. My grandparents had both been teachers and avid readers so there was plenty to go through, but my eye landed on something that I had never seen before. A green book with a simple title, “The Rosary” by Florence L. Barclay.
I took it with me to bed and read myself to sleep for a few nights, until I ran across the poem that the book was titled after. As I read it, tears and memories flooded my eyes and my heart.
The hours I spent with thee, dear heart,
Are as a string of pearls to me;
I count them over, every one apart,
My Rosary, My Rosary!
Each hour a pearl, each pearl a prayer
To still a heart in absence wrung;
I tell each bead unto the end, and there-
A cross is hung!
Oh memories that bless and burn!
Oh, barren gain, and bitter loss!
I kiss each bead and strive at last to learn
To kiss the cross…to kiss the cross.
Memories. My grandmother reading the Bible to me. Sitting on my Grandad’s lap and listening to him sing his silly songs. Listening to his endless tales that kept us entertained while we did the farm work. Laughing at the little jig dance he did when he was feeling silly. Listening to his quotes from the book of Proverbs and questioning him because I really didn’t understand how any of it applied to planting trees or scooping cow poop. Endless memories, each one a pearl!
The poem hit the mark that God intended. I missed Grandad so, but I knew in that moment all he had taught me was true. And I knew one other thing. I knew I was lacking something or someone in my life. I got up and looked for another, more familiar book, one that my Grandad had read to me a million times, about Jesus Christ dying on the cross for my sins. And I could hear his explanation of how to be “saved.” I never before felt that I needed that, except to save me from my crazy sister, or if my dad happened to be on a rampage. But that night I knew what he had meant. I knew I needed the Lord in my life. And because of that old man’s faithful teaching, I knew exactly how to go about this.
I knelt by my bed, weeping, and asking God to forgive me for anything and everything I had ever done, and I asked Jesus to come into my heart. Oh how I needed Him so! Not for any specific sins, but to be my companion! I needed Him to fill that empty space that was left when Grandad died!
And then I sat down with a pen, and did the thing my grandmother would never have approved of while she was here on earth; I wrote the poem down in the front of the book as a reminder to myself of the commitment I had made that very night.
The very next Sunday, when I went to church, while they were giving the call to the altar, I went right down to the front and dedicated my life to the Lord. What happened after that is for another story, and I can tell you that there were times when I did not keep that promise. But He has always kept His. I have never been alone since then.
He who is always faithful, brought to my remembrance that promise I made so long ago, alone in the dark with Him, when He brought the most glorious light of Himself into my darkest place, and has walked with me to this very day. Yes, I discovered a treasure, hidden deep within my heart.