Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Friday, July 14, 2006

May Truth Reflect Upon Our Senses

by Kerry Blair

I have as much interest as anybody in the articles, posts, comments, tirades and speculation about Deseret Book’s decision to stop selling their merchandise to Seagull Books.

Okay, maybe I don’t. Frankly, I live in a small town in Arizona where there is no Deseret Book or Seagull Book & Tape. Twenty miles down the road there is an independent bookseller who has about 100 square feet of retail space. He has crammed a wondrous number of books, CDs, and other items essential to LDS culture into physics-defying arrangements that the Chinese send their acrobats to study. Only one person can shop there at a time and even then you have to suck it in a little and walk sideways. Because of the elderly proprietor’s ill-health, you can never be sure what time, or even which day—or week—the store will open for business. When the door is open, the only books you’ll be certain to find in stock will be novels by Kerry Blair. (Oh, and maybe a leather quad, a few “I Can be Baptized” booklets, and something by a prophet. Not necessarily the current prophet. I think David O. McKay was president of the Church when Brother Johnson opened his shop, but it might have been Lorenzo Snow.) For obvious reasons, this will forever and always be my favorite LDS bookstore. As long as the big dogs don’t mess around on Brother Johnson’s porch, I probably won’t be pitching any rocks at them.

Besides, call me clueless (nothing worse, okay?—I have tender feelings), but this thing between DB and Seagull hasn’t made the top ten on my List of Things to Worry About This Week. For one thing, I truly believe that “right will out” in the end. For another, there are other controversies going on in the big, wide world. A few examples--in case the hamster keeps swiping the front page for his Habitrail before you can read a headline--

Phoenicians of late have been waking up to incredible pictographs in the sky: airstreams caused by our our military once again testing its ability to shoot down nuclear-type missiles before they can strike American soil or our installations. The sight is beautiful. And chilling. I wish it didn’t make me think of my oldest son who lives on an Army base in South Korea, but it does.

The “big picture” coming off the AP today is a photo of one of the many firestorms unleashed on Lebanon. I wish the escalating conflict in the Middle East didn’t make me think of the writings of Isaiah and John the Revelator, but it does.

Down in Yuma, my youngest son is gearing up to go back to Iraq to help disarm roadside bombs. I wish I didn’t have to think about that at all.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not sitting in my doorway wringing my hands and wailing, “Woe is us!” Nor have I made a “World Ends Tomorrow—You Saw It Here First” placard to carry around the courthouse square downtown. (Somebody beat me to it anyway. We’ve had a man lugging around variations of that warning since I was in high school. You’ve just got to admire the old guy's pessimism in the face of the world’s stubborn determination to keep turning.)

Truly, I’m living life as usual. Usual, for me, means buying books. I’m sure I’ll continue to buy them for years to come—at Seagull, at Deseret Book, but mostly at Brother Johnson’s—but I think I’ll check my pantry and count my cans of wheat and powdered milk first. I hope and pray for all to be well in Zion, but all I can think to do personally to make it so is to follow the prophet so there will be oil in my stores when I need it and--especially--to follow the Savior so there will be oil in my lamp when I need that.

One of my favorite hymns begins, “Truth reflects upon our senses.” This poem of repentence and gentle counsel was written by Eliza R. Snow at a time when her world seemed to be in shambles. Nevertheless, in the last stanza she wrote: Charity and love are healing; These will give the clearest sight; When I saw my brother’s failing, I was not exactly right. Now I’ll take no further trouble; Jesus’ love is all my theme; Little motes are but a bubble When I think upon the beam.

It works for me.


At 7/14/2006 1:29 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Kerry, beautifully and brilliantly said!

Many blessings upon your sons in the military--and upon their wonderful mother.

At 7/14/2006 1:30 PM, Blogger Cheri said...

Truth always seems to reflect upon your senses. =) Thank you for sharing your perspective. I heartily agree with you on this one.

In my neck of the woods, LDS books are sold in both of the local drugstores. Since it is a major jaunt to drive to an LDS bookstore like Seagull Book, or Deseret Book, people in the area appreciate the efforts these stores make to provide books on demand. I hope they'll be able to continue that service.

And regarding headline news, I agree---there are other concerns that should help us all reflect on what is truly important.

At 7/14/2006 3:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is certainly about oil.

At 7/14/2006 3:21 PM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

I'd have used my name if I'd thought of that last one. :-)

You must be one of Frederick's kin. Frogs are known for being fleet of tongue.

At 7/14/2006 6:25 PM, Anonymous Anura Ranidae said...

Have you noticed that the same people griping about the price of oil are the same ones who say the war is about oil and oil isn't worth fighting over?

At 7/16/2006 11:19 AM, Blogger annegb said...

Yes, Kerry, brilliant. When I heard about this, I couldn't come up with an intelligent thought about it and I thought "what's the matter with me? Don't I care?" Now I can answer myself "Not much."

So many other things going on in my life.


Post a Comment

<< Home