A Little Red Book
--by JZ, posted May 9, 2006
When you buy things with money, you feel like its owed to you. But when you receive something as an offering from someone else, the gift is a reminder of something bigger than yourself and you are filled with a humble reverance for all life.
Well, this is a story of one of those gifts.
In our middle-class living room, we have three shelves of books. We call it the "open source" bookshelf because any of our guests can take any book and contribute any book to it. No one tracks it; it's all based on trust, even though our home hosts many events with hundreds of different people passing through it.
These books are typically of the broader inspiration genre -- there's the general Chicken-Soup-For-Everyone books, self-help books like Power of Now, fictional masterpieces like Siddhartha, sacred texts like the Bible, Koran, the Dhammapada, and Gita, many biographies of sages from around the world. Once, I even found a "Tao of Jerry Sienfeld" book. It's an ecletic mix and you can't really be gauranteed what you'll find on a particular day.
So, the other day, my brother happened to chance upon a red book. It stood out because it had little white hearts on it and no title. Since it looked so unusual, he check it out and peeked inside.
Page one read a hand-written inscription in black ink ...
TO: DJ Burrowes
From: Grandma and Grandpa Burrowes
A selection of quotations from Grandpa's collection going back over many years.
We were stunned. Every page had a hand-written quote by DJ's grandparents. They had given it to their grandson and now, DJ had given it to us. What an offering! For a few seconds, all of us just stared at it in disbelief. A priceless moment.
Now, couple weeks back, DJ decided to leave corporate America to go on an open ended trip to China to learn the language and culture. Before leaving the country, he came for an event at our place, primarly to offer his silent gratitude. If you knew DJ, you'd know this was just the DJ kind of thing to do.
But this gift was over the top. Not only did he leave behind such a cherished part of himself, but he did so without telling anyone in our house!
My brother quickly opened up a random page in the book. It ends up being a quote by Boris Pasternak, with a crossed out word written in the seemingly shaky handwriting of Grandma or Grandpa Burrowes:
"What for centuries has raised man above the beast is not the cudgel -- but an inward music, the irresistable power of an unarmed truth, the powerful attraction of its example."
Wow. In stunned silence, we all stood in awe of the Burrowes for showing us, by their example, what that inward music is all about.
Thank you, DJ, wherever you are!