What I owe to the Houston Public Library System (1/13/12)

I started off the new year talking about forgiving myself, and I wrote my list... and on that list... 


Is a library fine. 


I don't know how else to say this other then to just say it... 

I have a crazy high library fine, like over a hundred dollars.  And not just that, but so does my daughter. Which in this case means I have two library fines, BOTH MY FAULT.

It really means I not only did not learn from from my mistakes, I taught the same mistake pattern to my child. (that is the sound of my gut being kicked)


Going to the library is something that I SHOULD do. Taking my kids to the library every other week, even better. That is what a GOOD person does. And I do. 

Not turning your books back in for an alarming long period of time... that is not what a good person does. Maybe it is forgivable... but only once you have paid that fee. 


So now, I basically (really) steal (eek I don't like that word) my husbands library card.  Steal as in he does not know that I use it and he WOULD NOT like it if he knew (so you can not tell).


What I should say now is that my husband is one of the best, most responsible library card holders around. If they gave out an plaque for 1,000 books returned on time, he would have one and he would be as proud as you can imagine of it.  I KID YOU NOT. I think he still has his original card from when he moved to the Houston area circa 1980s, in a box somewhere. Because he is not the type to 'need a replacement cause he left it in the bottom of a bag or something'. So, can you blame him for not letting me use it? 


He loves books just like I do.  He likes to go to the library like I do.  He occasionally takes the kids to the library, not like me you understand. But he is just that kind of guy.  A rule follower.  A 'only check out a couple books, don't freak out and take half the rack of books and inhale them like they are the candy and it is halloween night' kind of guy. 


And he tries to teach the kids this kind of stewardship of book card ownership.

And I guess my job is more to encourage in our children some "controlled chaos" (as I like to call it)... or not so controlled, as the library fines indicate.  

But none the less... there is the matter of the fine.  And my general lack of that kind of basic care for those types of details. The all good intentions and no follow thru side of me (so to speak).  


And I don't know if you have ever owed something.  Not like the 'insurance company won't pay a mega corporate hospital for the $95 pill that they gave you and so we will rake you over the coals even though we are in bed with the pharmaceutical company that provided it' kind of way.  But, owed someone or did something wrong to them that you knew you shouldn't have done.  And you sit with the knowing of it, even if it is small, you still know it is there. 


That is what this library fine represents. 

And I am forgiving myself of that, but only after I pay the bill... and I don't quite have that kind of cash with me today... well, at least if I am going to get my hair cut this weekend.

AND this is only ONE of the things on my list. (curse word) 


Here is a bit of the book that I just finished... a book that I got by stealing my husbands library card from his wallet, downloading it from the local library which I owe almost $200.  I did return the ebook on time, I promise, but only because my husband would have noticed the fee.


"You'd think that even a bad doctor on a bad day would feel better than a good drug dealer on a good day, but I suspect that this might not be true.  I suspect that drug dealers have days when everything clicks, and it's all buzz buzz buzz, and they chalk off their jobs one by one, and they return home with a sense of accomplishment."


And then there is this from the same book, gotten in the same way...

"When I look at my sins (and if I think they're sins, then they are sins), I can see the appeal of born-again Christianity. I suspect that it's not the Christianity that is so alluring; it's the rebirth.  Because who wouldn't wish to start all over again?"


Forgiving myself hurts, because I have to look at my ugliness, like looking the librarian in the eyes and asking how much I owe. But not forgiving myself hurts more, because I sit with it and it becomes bigger the longer I don't face it, like said fine. 

I do believe in redemption, after all, don't I? I keep asking. 

And then I sing, so I will somehow in the singing... find my voice. 

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.  

(pitchy at best)