Paper Trails


Newspapers on the breakfast table … printed words covering the face of my father; printed words on pages that smell of ink and newsprint, a dusty mustiness; library books read voraciously … pages filled with words that took his mind places he must have longed to go; book of the month club brought him joy in volumes … I never knew the names; his love of words transferred to me; words brought to life from pages filled with pictures to delight … read with such expression as only Mother could; paper money Mother counted and tallied in a savings and loan; paper passbooks … we girls had accounts there … teaching us to save our money, watching where it went; Daddy at work keeping papers and files of personnel, employees, important information for the employer to know, for the employee to decipher, for Daddy to interpret and protect them both; papers written on the college level as Mother went back to school at the age of forty. She wanted to teach; she worked; she studied; I tutored her through algebra; she did well. My own papers, tests, essays, written before I knew anything about writing. We were asked to write about certain subjects, topics. I wasn’t asked to write what I know, about my own life; writing about that was when I truly started writing. Paper gave way to computers and word processors. Frightened, I timidly entered cyberspace not knowing even how to turn that blame thing on. I remember that box eating up everything I had written and having no idea how to retrieve my hard work. Who needed that contraption? I was forced to through time and professional duties. I learned. So much I still don’t know or understand; it serves my purposes now; I made peace with that blame thing.

Paper is still my preference. I read voraciously; I smell the printed page with all its dusty mustiness.

I wrote plays for my students to perform; but it was from printed scripts I directed; we marked them with notations, suggestions, pronunciations. From the printed word I guided my students into a world of imagination filled with delight. My contribution to their lives; passing on the lessons my parents taught me, lessons that papered my life.

Dear Lord, Your Word is recorded on paper preserved for the sinner, believer, agnostic, and atheist … for all. These words have been written, spoken, enacted, brought to life through film. These words on paper have been hidden, burned, treasured, despised, but they live on. You communicated Your Word through the inspiration of those who put pen to paper. All of Your children of the past, present, and future, are blessed by the lessons You, our Heavenly Father, teach us; lessons that paper our lives. Thank You, Dear Lord, for the written word You so beautifully transcribed from Your heart to mine. Amen



2 Timothy 3:16-17  The Message
But don’t let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers—why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk! There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.



O Word Of God Incarnate

Lyrics:William Walsham How  (1823-1897)
Music:William Howard Doane  (1832-1915)


O Word of God incarnate,
O Wisdom from on high,
O Truth unchanged, unchanging,
O Light of our dark sky,
We praise Thee for the radiance
That from the hallowed page,
A lantern to our footsteps,
Shines on from age to age.


The Church from her dear Master
Received the gift divine,
And still that light she lifteth
O’er all the earth to shine:
It is the golden treasure
Where gems of truth are stored;
It is the heaven-drawn picture
Of Christ, the living Word.


It floateth like a banner
Before God’s host unfurled;
It shineth like a beacon
Above the darkening world;
It is the chart and compass
That, o’er life’s surging sea,
’Mid mists and rocks and quicksands
Still guide, O Christ, to Thee.


O make Thy Church, dear Savior,
A lampstand of pure gold,
To bear before the nations
Thy light, that all behold;
O teach Thy wandering pilgrims
By this their path to trace,
Till, clouds and darkness ended,
They see Thee face to face.























5 thoughts on “Paper Trails”

  1. Sitting on Beth’s porch reading your very good piece ! You must be in Hartsville !Little more work to do
    On trees up here . Looking forward to Sunday !
    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Jan , this was Susan’s home away from home ! At least 1 meal (more likely 2) meals a day there ! Unfortunately , a lot of fried , high sugar ( but tasty) items . Disaster for diabetics ! Susan has been in hospital all week but was transferred to Foothills Presbyterian Rehab in Easley yesterday for rehab care . She needs prayers 🙏

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. I remember you saying she ate at the Palmetto daily. Bless her … it sounds like a good sign she’s out of the hospital though, and in rehab. But far from out of the woods, I know. Prayers for Susan and for you, Margaret, for your gentle care of and for her. love, Jan

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